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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of delayed language development of a withdrawn blind child Rogow, Sally M.


Delay in language development can be the result of failure of a child to use language for purposes of communication. The notion that productive control of language can be considered separately from competence in language emerges as an important investigative concept. A non-verbal blind child whose delay in language was accompanied by indications that language was comprehended is the subject of this study. Demonstration of language acquisition and comprehension of both structural (syntactic) forms and understanding of meaning was achieved by a transformational analysis of spontaneous utterances, sentence completions, word associations, and the Brown and Berko Usage Test. The investigation of the language usage of the subject is considered in terms of social usage and the acquisition of public and private symbol systems. Three major premises emerge from the study: 1. Language may be acquired and competence attained while productive control remains undeveloped. 2. The structural forms employed provide an accurate reflection of deviance in language and speech development. 3. The question of reference to the external world is crucial to the development of language for social communication.

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