Are language and social communication intact in children with congenital visual impairment at school age?

Tadić, Valerie; Pring, Linda and Dale, Naomi. 2009. Are language and social communication intact in children with congenital visual impairment at school age? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(6), pp. 696-705. ISSN 00219630 [Article]


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Abstract or Description

Background:  Development of children with congenital visual impairment (VI) has been associated with vulnerable socio-communicative outcomes often bearing striking similarities to those of sighted children with autism.1 To date, very little is known about language and social communication in children with VI of normal intelligence.

Methods:  We examined the presentation of language and social communication of 15 children with VI and normal-range verbal intelligence, age 6–12 years, using a standardised language assessment and parental reports of everyday social and communicative behaviours. Their profiles were compared to those of typically developing sighted children of similar age and verbal ability.

Results:  Compared to their sighted peers, and relative to their own good and potentially superior structural language skills, children with VI showed significantly poorer use of language for social purposes. Pragmatic language weaknesses were a part of a broader socio-communicative profile of difficulties, present in a substantial proportion of these children and consistent with the pattern found in sighted children with autism.

Conclusions:  There are ongoing socio-communicative and pragmatic language difficulties in children with congenital VI at school age, despite their good intellectual abilities and advanced linguistic skills. Further research is required to unpack the underlying causes and factors maintaining this vulnerability in such children.

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Date Deposited:

28 Mar 2011 14:18

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 15:31

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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