The relationship between social and severity of language impairment

Kerstine I. Hart, Brigham Young University
Martin Fujiki, Brigham Young University
Bonnie Brinton, Brigham Young University
Craig H. Hart, Brigham Young University


The Teacher Behavior Rating Scale (C. H. Hart & C. C. Robinson, 1996) was used to compare the withdrawn and sociable behaviors of 41 children with specific language impairment (SLI) and 41 typically developing peers. Three subtypes of withdrawal (reticence, solitary-active, solitary-passive) and 2 subtypes of sociable behavior (prosocial, impulse control/likeability) were examined. Teachers rated children with SLI as exhibiting higher levels of reticence and solitary-passive withdrawal than typical children. Teachers also rated the children with SLI as demonstrating lower levels of both types of sociable behavior than typical children. The group with SLI was then separated into subgroups of children having more severe and less severe language impairment. These groupings did not differ on comparisons involving withdrawn behavior, except that girls with more severe receptive problems demonstrated higher levels of solitary-passive withdrawal than did girls with less severe language problems. Children with less severe receptive language impairment demonstrated higher levels of proficiency on both types of sociable behavior than their peers with more severe impairment. Children with more severe expressive problems also demonstrated poorer prosocial behavior-but not poorer impulse control/likeability-than children with less severe expressive problems.