Purpose: The script frameworks model (R. Schank, 1975) and causal network model (T. Trabasso & L. Sperry, 1985) were used to assess script-based story retellings of children with and without language impairments (LI). When retelling scripts and stories, children developing typically include (a) more obligatory than optional elements, with few temporal sequencing errors, and (b) story elements having several versus few causal connections to other story elements. The purpose of this study was to determine whether children with LI demonstrated a similar pattern of recall.
Method: A script-based story retell was collected from 22 children with LI and 22 age-matched peers (AM). Retells were analyzed for inclusion of obligatory and optional elements, elements with high and low causal connectivity, and temporal sequencing accuracy.
Results: Retells from both groups contained more obligatory elements and elements with high causal connectivity. However, groups differed on the specific elements included.
Conclusions: Children in the AM group appeared to utilize script and causal connectivity elements when retelling a script-based story. Children in the LI group appeared to focus more on script elements than causal connectivity. Their deficiencies may reflect difficulties with flexible application of scripts and accessing relevant knowledge, and/or generalized difficulties organizing information and extracting patterns.