Extremely low gestational age (ELGA, GA. <. 28 weeks) preterm children are at high risk for linguistic impairments; however, their lexical comprehension and production as well as lexical categories in their early language acquisition have not been specifically examined via direct tools. Our study examines lexical comprehension and production as well as gestural production in ELGA children by focusing on noun and predicate acquisition. Forty monolingual ELGA children (mean GA of 26.7 weeks) and 40 full-term (FT) children were assessed at two years of corrected chronological age (CCA) using a test of noun and predicate comprehension and production (PiNG) and the Italian MB-CDI. Noun comprehension and production were delayed in ELGA compared with FT children, as documented by the low number of correct responses and the large number of errors, i.e., incorrect responses and no-response items, and by the types of incorrect responses, i.e., fewer semantically related responses, in noun production. Regarding predicate comprehension and production, a higher frequency of no responses was reported by ELGA children and these children also presented a lower frequency of bimodal spoken-gestural responses in predicate production than FT children. A delayed vocabulary size as demonstrated by the MB-CDI, was exhibited by one-fourth of the ELGA children, who were also unable to complete the predicate subtest. These findings highlight that noun comprehension and production are delayed in ELGA children at two years of CCA and are the most important indexes for the direct evaluation of their lexical abilities and delay. The types of incorrect responses and bimodal spoken-gestural responses were proven to be useful indexes for evaluating the noun and predicate level of acquisition and to plan early focused interventions. Learning outcomes: After reading this manuscript, the reader will understand (a) the differences in noun and predicate comprehension and production between ELGA and FT children and the indexes of lexical delays exhibited by ELGA children at 2;0 (CCA); (b) the relevance of evaluating errors (incorrect response and no response), the types of incorrect responses (semantically related and unrelated) and the modality of the responses (unimodal spoken and bimodal spoken-gestural) in noun and predicate production to understand the difficulties experienced by ELGA children in representing and expressing meanings; and (c) the need to plan specific interventions to support spoken and gestural modalities in lexical comprehension and production in ELGA children by focusing on noun and predicate acquisition.
Sansavini, A., Bello, A., Guarini, A., Savini, S., Alessandroni, R., Faldella, G., et al. (2015). Noun and predicate comprehension/production and gestures in extremely preterm children at two years of age: Are they delayed?. JOURNAL OF COMMUNICATION DISORDERS, 58, 126-142 [10.1016/j.jcomdis.2015.06.010].