Basic Numeracy in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Heterogeneity and Connections to Language Purpose This study examined basic numerical skills in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and how well linguistic factors explain the variance in these children’s number skills. Method The performance of children with SLI (n = 29) was compared with that of typically developing children along a continuum ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2006
Basic Numeracy in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Heterogeneity and Connections to Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tuire Koponen
    Niilo Mäki Institute, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Riikka Mononen
    University of Jyväskylä
  • Pekka Räsänen
    Niilo Mäki Institute, University of Jyväskylä
  • Timo Ahonen
    University of Jyväskylä
  • Contact author: Tuire Koponen, Maurinkuja 5 A4, 41 370 Leppävesi, Finland. Email: tuire.koponen@nmi.jyu.fi
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2006
Basic Numeracy in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Heterogeneity and Connections to Language
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2006, Vol. 49, 58-73. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/005)
History: Received July 1, 2004 , Accepted May 19, 2005
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2006, Vol. 49, 58-73. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2006/005)
History: Received July 1, 2004; Accepted May 19, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 29

Purpose This study examined basic numerical skills in children with specific language impairment (SLI) and how well linguistic factors explain the variance in these children’s number skills.

Method The performance of children with SLI (n = 29) was compared with that of typically developing children along a continuum ranging from preschool to 3rd grade (n = 20, 47, 40, and 33). This facilitated both linguistic and educational age comparisons. To study number skills within the SLI group more closely, this group was divided into subgroups on the basis of their performance in verbal and nonverbal numerical skills. The performance of the different SLI subgroups on the linguistic and nonverbal reasoning task was analyzed.

Results As a single group, the children with SLI lagged behind their educational age controls in both verbal and nonverbal numerical skills. Subgroup analyses revealed that the ability to retrieve arithmetic facts from the memory was connected to naming fluency, whereas the differences in nonverbal numerical skills were not explained by the cognitive skills measured (nonverbal reasoning skill, verbal short-term memory, vocabulary, comprehension, and naming fluency).

Conclusions This study demonstrates that children with SLI form a very heterogeneous group in their numerical skills, and thus specific hypotheses concerning the influence of linguistic deficits on developing numerical skills are required. The cognitive components of serial naming speed present a promising domain for further exploration.

Acknowledgments
In the present study, the data were collected as a part of the MEIDO project (Diagnostics and Rehabilitation of Mathematical Skills via Internet Program), which was supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education, Finland’s Slot Machine Association, and Sonera. We would like to thank the pupils, their parents, and teachers of Haukkaranta and Liisanpuisto special education schools, Vaajakumpu and Halssila regular preschools, and Lohikoski regular school for their positive attitude and cooperation.
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