Story writing skills of adults with a history language-impairment

Karen M. Smith-Lock, Lyndsey Nickels, Lynne Mortensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)


The purpose of this study was to investigate the story writing skills of adults with a history of oral language impairment. It was hypothesized that writing text would pose difficulty for adults with a history of language impairment (LI), and that this difficulty would manifest itself as reduced grammatical complexity and increased errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. The story writing of 10 adults with a history of LI was compared to a group of 51 unimpaired individuals. Participants were asked to write the story of Cinderella. Stories were analysed for length, grammatical complexity and accuracy of grammar, punctuation and spelling. Data were analysed to determine group trends as well as individual profiles. As a group, the adults with LI showed no difference from the comparison group in the length of their stories as measured by total number of words. The LI group did, however, show reduced grammatical complexity in their writing, as measured by mean length of t-unit. The LI group made more errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation than the comparison group. Individual analyses indicated substantial variability within the LI group. It is concluded that LI in childhood is associated with writing difficulties in adulthood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-734
Number of pages22
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009

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