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J Speech Hear Res. 1995 Oct;38(5):1117-25.

Conversational interactions of mothers and their preschool children who had been born preterm.

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  • 1College of Education, University of Illinois, Chicago 60607, USA.


This study examined the conversational interactions of mothers and their 4.5-year-old children, who had been born preterm, during a social problem-solving task asking each dyad to agree on the choice of a snack. Relative to comparison mothers, mothers of preterm children seemed to approach the task as a vocabulary lesson; they produced less complex sentences and were more likely to name the snacks and to test their children's knowledge of snack names. Comparison mothers were more likely to focus on the social negotiation aspect of the task, by offering more opinions and reasons. Discussed is whether the conversational strategies of mothers of preterm children reflect appropriate "fine-tuning" or a lag in adjusting to their children's emerging language skills because of a lingering "prematurity stereotype."

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