First Advisor

Rhea Paul

Term of Graduation

Summer 1997

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication





Physical Description

1 online resource (2, vi, 89 pages)


The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between receptive language skills and nonverbal cognitive skills in preschool children with cerebral palsy and a mild to severe motor speech impairment. In addition, the relationship between the severity of motor impairment and receptive communication and nonverbal cognitive skills was also examined. Fifteen subjects, 10 males and 5 females, were included in this study. The subjects are part of a larger longitudinal study being completed within Portland State University's Speech and Hearing Sciences Program. All of the subjects participated in two in-home assessment sessions, which were approximately 2 hours long. Two research assistants completed the assessments along with a physical therapy student from Oregon Health Sciences University, who assisted in determining optimal positioning for each subject. The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Revised, Form L was used to assess the receptive 2 vocabulary of the subjects and the Miller and Paul Comprehension Assessment was used to assess the subjects' comprehension of spoken language. The Uzgiris and Hunt Scales of Infant Psychological Development and the Leiter International Performance Scales were used to assess nonverbal cognition.

Results of the study indicate that there is a moderately low correlation between receptive vocabulary at the word level and specific nonverbal cognitive skills (i.e., vocal and gestural imitation). This correlation suggests that a lack of motor experience adversely affects receptive language and nonverbal cognitive development in children with motor speech impairments. Clinical implications include a focus on strengthening symbolic representation abilities by providing opportunities to map language onto motor experiences.


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