Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Carl Coelho; Bernard Grela

Field of Study

Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate if adolescents with LI are at increased risk relative to unimpaired peers at struggling to comprehend driving-related vocabulary found in driving preparation material.

Method: This study included 11 adolescents with LI and 11 adolescent controls with typical language development. Participants completed a self-developed receptive vocabulary measure, the Driving-Related Picture Vocabulary Task, which consisted of simple noun, compound noun, and simple verb driving terminology.

Results: The Driving-Related Picture Vocabulary Task was found to have strong convergent validity with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Fourth Edition (Dunn & Dunn, 2007). Strong positive correlation was also found between accuracy on the Driving-Related Picture Vocabulary Task and overall oral language skills in adolescents. The LI group understood fewer driving-related terms compared to TD peers. Adolescents with LI and TD peers were found to have similar scores on the experimental task for understanding simple nouns. However, accuracy in adolescents with LI was found to be lower and statistically significant compared to the control participants in understanding simple verbs and compound nouns, for both noun + noun and adjective + noun compounds.

Discussion: Decreased understanding of terms found in the Driver’s Manual puts adolescents with LI at risk for failing to earn a driver’s license, a major rite of passage for adolescents. Failure to comprehend driving terminology may also pose additional safety risks if these adolescents are unable to understand important rules, regulations, and practices for safe driving because of the challenging terminology used to describe them.

Major Advisor

Tammie J Spaulding