Sustained Selective Attention Skills of Preschool Children With Specific Language Impairment: Evidence for Separate Attentional Capacities Purpose The present study was designed to investigate the performance of preschool children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their typically developing (TD) peers on sustained selective attention tasks. Method This study included 23 children diagnosed with SLI and 23 TD children matched for age, gender, and maternal ... Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2008
Sustained Selective Attention Skills of Preschool Children With Specific Language Impairment: Evidence for Separate Attentional Capacities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Tammie J. Spaulding
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Elena Plante
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Rebecca Vance
    University of Arizona, Tucson
  • Contact author: Tammie J. Spaulding, Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, P.O. Box 210071, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721-0071. E-mail: spauld20@email.arizona.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2008
Sustained Selective Attention Skills of Preschool Children With Specific Language Impairment: Evidence for Separate Attentional Capacities
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 16-34. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/002)
History: Received August 28, 2006 , Revised March 15, 2007 , Accepted May 22, 2007
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2008, Vol. 51, 16-34. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/002)
History: Received August 28, 2006; Revised March 15, 2007; Accepted May 22, 2007
Web of Science® Times Cited: 65

Purpose The present study was designed to investigate the performance of preschool children with specific language impairment (SLI) and their typically developing (TD) peers on sustained selective attention tasks.

Method This study included 23 children diagnosed with SLI and 23 TD children matched for age, gender, and maternal education level. The children’s sustained selective attention skills were assessed with different types of stimuli (visual, nonverbal-auditory, linguistic) under 2 attentional load conditions (high, low) using computerized tasks. A mixed design was used to compare children across groups and performance across tasks.

Results The SLI participants exhibited poorer performance than their peers on the sustained selective attention tasks presented in the auditory modality (linguistic and nonverbal-auditory) under the high attentional load conditions. Performance was comparable with their peers under the low attentional load conditions. The SLI group exhibited similar performance to their peers on the visual tasks regardless of attentional load.

Conclusion These results support the notion of attention difficulties in preschool children with SLI and suggest separate attentional capacities for different stimulus modalities.

Acknowledgment
This work was supported by National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC04726. Additional support was provided through a fellowship to the first author from the Bamford–Lahey Children’s Foundation.
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