Requests for Communication Repair Produced by Typically Developing Preschool-Age Children

Hannah M. Julien, Lizbeth H. Finestack, Joe Reichle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose When breakdowns in communication occur, children may request a repair to increase understanding of the message. Unrepaired communication breakdowns may cause confusions, limit conversational exchanges, and restrict children's learning opportunities. Relatively little is known regarding the conditions under which children produce repair requests. Thus, this study examined the verbal communication repair requests produced by typically developing children and evaluated the relationship between children's repair requests and performance on a theory of mind task. Method Participants included 25 typically developing 4-year-old children who completed standardized, norm-referenced assessments of their expressive language, receptive language, and IQ; a theory of mind task; and a shared book reading task. In the shared book reading task, the examiner elicited child repair requests using questions and statements that contained insufficient information. Results Participants produced a statistically significant greater number of repair requests when presented with questions with insufficient information compared to statements with insufficient information ( p < .001). There were no differences in total repair requests between participants who passed or failed the theory of mind task ( p = .45). Conclusion Among preschool-age children, the shared book reading task provided a naturalistic medium that facilitated the examination of children's repair requests. Results from this study provide baseline information to which the repair requests produced by other populations, such as children with autism spectrum disorder, can be compared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1823-1838
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 19 2019

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Evaluation Study


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