Back to search

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam

The Nature and Development of Language and Language Disorders in Children

Awarded: NOK 8.1 mill.

Project Number:


Application Type:

Project Period:

2008 - 2016


The overall goal of the project, The Nature and Development of Language and Language Disorders in Children, has been to further our understanding of language and communication development in children aged 4 through 9 years. The project has consisted of two parts: Part 1 regards quantitative longitudinal studies of groups of children with typical and delayed language development: an unselected group of children with Norwegian as a mother tongue, bilingual children and children with delayed language development: children with Down syndrome, prelingual deaf children with early implantation of cochlea and children with specific language impairment. Part 2 regards in depth case based studies of the interaction between teachers and children from the same language groups as in Part 1 in situations where the children learned new skills. The interaction evolved in five different educational situations which are commonly used in preschool and early schooling when children learn new skills (shared reading, a writing task, a construction task (Duplo model), and a play situation with animals). The project has been carried out by the research group Child Language and Learning, Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo. A major purpose of the longitudinal studies (Part 1) has been to generate theory about language development and the mechanisms that facilitate and promote oral and written language skills. The results have been published in well respected international journals. A number of meta-analyses have also been developed, for example, one on the question whether working memory training has an effect on problems solving, language and reading skills, and another on the relations between children's preschool vocabulary skills and later skills of word decoding and reading comprehension. The general aim of the studies of interactions between teachers and children (Part 2) has been to shed light on those qualities of the interactions that facilitate and inhibit the child's problem solving and learning. These issues have been studied in five projects carried out by PhD students. The results have been published in well respected international journals, and in monographs in connection with the PhD work. Theoretically, the studies have contributed with enhanced knowledge of typical, delayed and atypical language development. This includes a number of findings that will have implications for the public sector and for the practice in kindergartens and schools. In particular, the findings are relevant to the education of teachers, teachers of special education, and speech therapists; for example, specific information such as "working memory training is not likely to be an effective intervention for children with learning or language disorders", detailed descriptions of the conditions that contribute to typical, delayed and atypical language development, descriptions of at risk factors as related to early preschool identification of language impairment, and also descriptions of the qualities of teacher mediation that facilitate and inhibit language learning.

The focus of this project is typical and delayed language development in children aged four through eight. Increased knowledge about this field of research is important both to theory, to kindergartens, schools and policy making. This knowledge will in tu rn provide a basis for constructing effective intervention programs which can prevent literacy failure and facilitate the development of oral language communication skills. The project?s aim is to meet these demands for knowledge by including both an uns elected sample of typically developing children and selected subgroups of children with specific challenges in developing language. Two main approaches will be utilized: 1: Longitudinal studies of typical and delayed language development, focusing on mil estones in individual children. Data is mainly quantitative and gathered through assessing different aspects of language repeatedly at different ages (4-8). 2: Studies of dialogues between child - teacher and child - peer in various pre-specified situa tions in (pre)schools. Single-case designs are planned for each subgroup in Part 1. Data is gathered primarily through observations and interviews. A major objective is to specify characteristics of ?good educational dialogues? with reference to typical a nd delayed/deviant development. Also, combining data from Parts 1 and 2 enables us to interpret descriptive information about (pre)school practice in the light of quantitative knowledge about developmental milestones and vice versa. Our project will add to knowledge about language and communication development in several ways by: a) comparing information on typical and delayed / deviant language development b) exploring the mechanisms that drive language development via comparative studies across subgrou ps, nations and orthographies c) combining data which enables us to study kindergartens/classrooms with a broader than typical approach.

Publications from Cristin

No publications found

No publications found

Funding scheme:

FRIHUMSAM-Fri hum og sam