Relation between language comprehension and cognitive functioning in persons with mental retardation

Leonard J Abbeduto, Katherine Short

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research on the relation between language comprehension and cognitive functioning in persons with mental retardation is reviewed. The purpose is to evaluate the validity of the clinical practice of cognitive referencing. In cognitive referencing, an individual is considered to be a good candidate for (i.e., likely to benefit from) entry into a remedial language program only if he or she displays a mental age in advance of his or her language age. The studies reviewed concern: (a) the relation between various aspects of language comprehension (e.g., pragmatic, syntactic) and mental age, (b) the relation between different cognitive skills (e.g., sequential analysis, short term memory) and language comprehension, (c) the stability of the relation between language comprehension and cognition over development, and (d) whether remedial language services can lead to levels of comprehension that exceed mental age expectations. The evidence suggests that the theoretical assumptions underlying cognitive referencing are incorrect, with the result being that many persons with mental retardation who could benefit from remedial language services may not receive those services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-369
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • cognitive referencing
  • language comprehension
  • mental retardation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions(all)
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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