Narrative retells in Swedish school-aged children - a clinical pilot study

Logoped Phoniatr Vocol. 2023 Apr;48(1):12-22. doi: 10.1080/14015439.2021.1966833. Epub 2021 Aug 30.


Aim: The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate two new retelling tasks intended for clinical use in terms of language sample size, effects of picture support, and order of presentation.

Methods: Forty Swedish-speaking children in grades 4-6 participated in the study, 31 children with typical language development (TLD, mean age 11;1), and nine children with developmental language disorder (DLD, mean age 11;5). Two oral retells, one with and one without picture support, were analyzed with regards to productivity, syntactic complexity, basic Story Grammar (SG) units, and Internal Responses (IR).

Results: Results showed no systematic order effects in the TLD group, although this needs to be investigated further, and good inter-rater reliability. Both tasks elicited sufficiently large language samples, except from one participant with DLD whose samples were excluded from subsequent comparisons. When appropriate, data were analyzed with ANOVA (productivity, mean length of C-unit/MLCU), otherwise t-tests (TLD-group) or non-parametric tests (DLD-group) were used. As expected, retells from participants with DLD were shorter, with shorter MLCU and fewer SG units compared to the TLD group. There were also task effects: in the task with picture support, all participants had longer MLCU, and participants with TLD also showed a higher proportion of subordinate clauses, indicating that pictures may function as a support for syntactic complexity. The task without picture support, on the other hand, elicited more C-units indicated by a significant main effect, and more SG units, which was a significant effect in the TLD group.

Conclusions: >We conclude that both tasks might be useful for Swedish speech-language pathologists.

Keywords: Narrative; assessment; developmental language disorder; school-age; task effects.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Language Development Disorders*
  • Language Tests
  • Pilot Projects
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sweden
  • Voice Quality*