Speech Understanding by Children Diagnosed with Delayed Verbal Development in the Context of Family Functioning

Keywords: verbal development, child's understanding of speech, family functioning, ego-resiliency


The assumptions of the own research presented in the article refer to the socio-interactive approach that assumes that learning and proper language acquisition by a child require cognitive activity, proper progress in cognitive development, and active - resulting from social relations - observation of adult speech. The research assumptions also take into account the importance of the autoregulatory function of language and systemic understanding of the concept of family.

The aim of the study was to check the presence of the relationship between speech understanding by children with delayed verbal development and the various dimensions of their family functioning and ego-resiliency of parents.

The study included a group of 72 well-cognitively functioning Polish children aged 5-7 with a diagnosis of delayed verbal development and their families selected using random and nonprobability sampling. The children were examined using the Polish Picture Vocabulary Test – Comprehension - version A (PPVT-C). Functioning of the families of the examined children was operationalized by the results of FACES IV by D. Olson (the Polish version of the scale was used); while the Ego Resiliency Scale was used to study resilience.

The results of the conducted research indicate, among others, that families of children with lower scores on speech understanding present less favorable functioning profiles in the scope of selected dimensions of FACES -IV: Family Communication, Cohesion, Disengaged and Family Satisfaction. However, the relationship between the child's understanding of speech and other demographic variables such as parent's age, parent's gender, parent's education, marital status has not been confirmed.

It was recognized that the results of the research will allow in the future to optimize the therapeutic services offered to children with verbal development disorders and their families in their natural environment, as well as to allow the presentation of appropriate strategies to support speech development (especially speech understanding abilities) in children. The creation of a group representing a certain type of language disorder will allow a better adaptation of the training program to the specific difficulties experienced by a child, as well as allow for more effective involvement of parents in preventive measures.

Author Biographies

Krzysztof Gerc, Jagiellonian University in Krakow

His scientific interests and publications refer to: mental development of disabled people in their lifespan and the issues of supporting the development of child and young people who show developmental deficits. He deals also with the issues of culture of organization, its effect and meaning in the process of management in education and health care in the wider context of rehabilitation and educational psychology.

Marta Jurek, Specialist Psychological and Pedagogical Counseling Center in Skawina near Krakow

educator (doctor of pedagogy), child therapist

Her scientific interests: the issues of forming the sense of subjectivity in children and young people, analysis of the context of communication and  educational dialogue, pedagogical conditions in developmental and behavioural disorders, problems of rehabilitation of children with disabilities in the social context.


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How to Cite
Gerc, K., & Jurek, M. (2020). Speech Understanding by Children Diagnosed with Delayed Verbal Development in the Context of Family Functioning. Multidisciplinary Journal of School Education, 9(1(17), 173-198. https://doi.org/10.35765/mjse.2020.0917.09