The study analyzed the communicative interaction patterns of eight congenitally nonspeaking physically disabled children (between the ages of 4 and 6 years) and their primary caregivers. The dyads were videotaped in a free play situation for 20 minutes. The videotaped interaction was transcribed in its entirety and coded with respect to three categories of variables: discourse status, communicative function, and mode of communication. Findings related to the discourse patterns are reported in the present article; those related to the communicative functions and modes of communication will be reported in subsequent articles. The data were analyzed to reflect the frequencies of the specific communicative behaviors of the participants and the patterns of interactional sequences within the conversations. Results indicated that the interaction patterns were transactional in nature with caregivers and children clearly influencing each other in the course of the exchanges. The patterns, although synchronous, were highly asymmetrical. Caregivers controlled the interaction by occupying more of the conversational space, by initiating more topics, and by exerting maximal summoning power in their turns and demanding specific responses from the children. The nonspeaking children tended to forfeit their optional turns in the interaction and to fulfill their communicative turn opportunities only when they were clearly obligated to do so. Directions for clinical intervention and for future research are discussed in light of the research findings.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Speech and Hearing