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Pragmatic language development and educational style in neglected children

By Juan Manuel Moreno Manso, Ma Elena García-Baamonde, Macarena Blázquez Alonso and Eloísa Guerrero Barona

Abstract

This paper analyzes the pragmatic competence of children in residential care and the relation between the parents' educational style and the level of pragmatic dominion of 74 children aged between 6 and 18 in 4 residential child care centers in Extremadura. We apply the 'Objective Language Criteria Test' (BLOC-Screening) to evaluate their linguistic development and the 'Autoevaluative Multifactorial Child Adaptation Test' (TAMAI) to determine educational style. The presence of difficulties in pragmatics is evident. The children with a low dominion of pragmatics perceive a more restrictive and punitive style in the mother and a high affective rejection in the father. The children have difficulties empathizing with others, especially when they are interacting with adults; they have very little skill in showing disagreement before an authority figure; and they use their previous experience to make inferences about the actions or intentions of other people. We verify the need to implant programs designed to stimulate and reorganize the children's language.Child abuse Language development Pragmatics Neglect Psycholinguistic skills

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