This project examined the story generations of five children with language impairment (LI) between the ages of 5;11 and 10;1 across the treatment sessions of a narrative-based intervention program designed to improve social communication. These stories were analyzed to find whether the participants would approach the task by describing the stimulus pictures or if their stories would reflect an episodic structure containing cause and effect relationships. Additionally, the stories were analyzed for inclusion of emotion words to discern the participants' awareness of the characters' emotions. There was a high degree of variability in the participants' performance; however, the majority of the stories were composed of picture descriptions, and most of the participants generated short stories with few episodic elements in response to the probes over the course of treatment. In terms of emotion word use, two of the participants increased their use of emotion words in later sessions. Overall the participants' performance on the story generation probe did not reflect their performance in other treatment tasks including shared book readings, story enactments, and journal writing. This was likely due to their disinterest or fatigue in the story generation task and stimuli, as well as their continued need for the clinician modeling that was present in the other treatment tasks. Future research is needed to determine effective treatments that help school-aged children with LI recognize goal-directed behavior and emotional content in stories.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





language impairment, story generation, narrative, emotion understanding, episodic elements, intervention