What is it about?

Pronouns are are difficult to understand because they can refer to many different people or things (e.g., "she" could be any female). In this study, we looked at how adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities understand pronouns. We found that they use some of the same cues to figure out what pronouns mean as adults with typical development. However, there are also important differences between these two groups, which suggests that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities may struggle to understand pronouns.

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Why is it important?

Pronouns are extremely common, and they are critical to understanding everyday conversation. When the people involved in a conversation are not using the same strategies to figure out who or what a pronouns refers to, conversation will be difficult. Our results show that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities only partly share pronoun interpretation strategies with adults with typical development. Therefore, speech-language pathologists should consider pronouns as a focus for intervention in this population.

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This page is a summary of: The Effects of Syntactic, Semantic, and Pragmatic Prominence on Pronoun Interpretation in Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Speech Language and Hearing Research, August 2023, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA),
DOI: 10.1044/2023_jslhr-22-00557.
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