Children's Naming and Word-Finding Difficulties: Descriptions and Explanations

Messer, David and Dockrell, Julie E. (2006). Children's Naming and Word-Finding Difficulties: Descriptions and Explanations. Journal of Speech, Hearing and Language Research, 49(2) pp. 309–324.


PURPOSE: There is a substantial minority of children for whom lexical retrieval problems impede the normal pattern of language development and use. These problems include accurately producing the correct word even when the word's meaning is understood. Such problems are often referred to as word-finding difficulties (WFDs). This article examines the nature of naming and lexical retrieval difficulties in these and other groups of children.
METHOD: A review of the relevant literature on lexical access difficulties in children with word-finding difficulties was conducted. Studies were examined in the terms of population parameters and comparison groups included in the study.
RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: Most discussions of the cognitive processes causing lexical retrieval difficulties refer to semantics, phonology, and processing speed. The authors propose that understanding of these topics will be further advanced by the use of appropriate methodology to test developmental models. In this way it will be possible to identify the processes that contribute to successful lexical retrieval and the processes that result in retrieval difficulties.

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