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Psychology in Action

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Children with impaired language skills are at a greater risk for educational failure. At times, impaired language skills are secondary to other problems such as deafness or mental retardation; these categories constitute about 40% of those with language problems. About 5% of all school children are referred to a speech pathologist for motor problems in language; another 3% go for "true" language disability. Since so little is known about the mechanisms involved in language disability, it is difficult to specify what is at the nature of the problem. These children do not have a general cognitive impairment, nor are they necessarily from bad environments. Ideas about what is wrong are merely speculations. Some say there may be a problem in the mental representations of language; others say there may be a problem in the mapping of new words, something that occurs so effortlessly in other children. The general remedial approach has been to work with word meaning, especially if the words can be used as cues for syntax, to try to improve their overall competence in all areas, and to increase environmental input that will contribute to word mapping. It still remains to be seen whether these approaches will work. It may be that Gardner's theory about multiple intelligences is correct. If so, not only will there always be some who are less linguistically able than others, there will also be some for whom linguistic ability is lower than other abilities. Rice, M. L. (1989). Children's Language Acquisition, American Psychologist, 44 , 149-156. Instructor’s Resource Guide                               Chapter 9                                            Page  24                             
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K ey T erms developmental psychology (p. 316) STUDYING DEVELOPMENT critical period (p. 317) cross-sectional method (p. 318) longitudinal method (p. 318) maturation (p. 317) PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT ageism (p. 329) embryonic period (p. 323) fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) (p. 324) fetal period (p. 323) germinal period (p. 323) puberty (p. 327) teratogen [Tuh-RAT-uh-jen] (p. 322) COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT accommodation (p. 332) assimilation (p. 332) concrete operational stage (p. 335) conservation (p. 335) egocentrism (p. 335) formal operational stage (p. 335) object permanence (p. 333) preoperational stage (p. 333) schema (p. 332) sensorimotor stage (p. 333) SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT attachment (p. 340) imprinting (p. 340) Instructor’s Resource Guide                               Chapter 9                                            Page  25                             
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  D iscussion Q uestions 1. There are devastating consequences following the use of drugs by pregnant women. Should drug laws be stronger and more strictly enforced for pregnant women than for the general public? What about laws related to the father's drug consumption? Should tobacco or alcohol be illegal when taken by pregnant women? Is a pregnant woman who smokes or drinks guilty of child abuse?
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  • Developmental Psychology, Resource Guide                                Chapter

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