Narrative discourse in young children with histories of early corrective heart surgery

Lowry Hemphill*, Paola Uccelli, Kendra Winner, Chien Ju Chang, David Bellinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Narrative attainment was assessed in a group of 76 four-year-old children at risk for brain injury because of histories of early corrective heart surgery. Elicited personal experience narratives were coded for narrative components, evaluative devices, and information adequacy and were contrasted with narratives produced by a comparison group of typically developing 4-year-olds. The production of autonomous narrative discourse was identified as an area of special vulnerability for children with this medical history. Despite considerable heterogeneity in narrative performance, children with early corrective heart surgery produced fewer narrative components than typically developing children. Results suggest that the elaboration of events and contextual information, the expression of subjective evaluation and causality, and clarity and explicitness of information reporting may constitute special challenges for this population of children. Implications of these findings for clinical assessment and possible risks for socioemotional relationships and academic achievement are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-331
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain injury
  • Discourse
  • Heart surgery
  • Narrative
  • Young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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