Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Sciences & Disorders


Within the area of pragmatics, the subject of children's repair strategies has been an issue of considerable research for many years. Most of this research has not addressed verbal and nonverbal repair strategy behaviors particularly among preschool children enrolled in an integrated preschool program. The purpose of the present study was to describe how preschool children enrolled in an integrated preschool program request clarification in naturalistic situations and how they use conversational repair strategies following a stacked sequence of requests for clarification by adults.

Naturalistic inquiry was used to establish an inventory of strategies used by handicapped and non-handicapped children (N=34) integrated in a preschool setting. The investigator observed and recorded behaviors r'f the preschool subjects as they interacted with adults in the integrated preschool setting three mornings per week over a period of six weeks. Behaviors recorded relative to child requests for clarification and child responses to stacked sequences of requests for clarification by adults were unitized and categorized by the investigator. The results, which are presented in narrative and tabular form, represent the conversational repair strategies of preschool children in the integrated preschool setting.

A higher percentage of nonverbal than vex .ui behaviors was noted for both requests for clarifications and responses to requests for clarification across all subjects regardless of age and/or presence of handicap. Two-year old subjects demonstrated the highest percentage of nonverbal behavior and the lowest percentage of appropriate verbal behavior as requests for clarification; four- and five-year old subjects, conversely, demonstrated the lowest percentage of nonverbal behavior and the most appropriate verbal behavior as requests for clarification. Handicapped subjects demonstrated lower percentages of verbal and nonverbal requests for clarification in comparison to non handicapped subjects. Repetition of the initial utterance was the repair strategy used most frequently by all subjects, across all groups.

Based on these conclusions, recommendations for future research include comparisons of handicapped and non handicapped preschool children's conversational performance between integrated and non-integrated preschool settings.

Included in

Psychology Commons