Short-Term Memory (STM) Constraints in Children With Specific Language Impairment (SLI): Are There Differences Between Receptive and Expressive SLI? Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) is assumed to be causally related to deficits in auditory short-term memory (STM). Although verbal STM deficits have been consistently found in SLI, the results of visual STM tests are inconsistent. Do these inconsistencies reflect different study populations of expressive SLI (ELI) and receptive–expressive SLI ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 2009
Short-Term Memory (STM) Constraints in Children With Specific Language Impairment (SLI): Are There Differences Between Receptive and Expressive SLI?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Andreas Nickisch
    Kinderzentrum Munich, Germany, and Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  • Rüdiger von Kries
    Kinderzentrum Munich, Germany, and Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany
  • Contact author: Andreas Nickisch, Department of Phoniatrics and Pedaudiology, Kinderzentrum Munich, Heiglhofstrasse 63, 81377 Munich, Germany. E-mail: Andreas.Nickisch@lrz.uni-muenchen.de.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 2009
Short-Term Memory (STM) Constraints in Children With Specific Language Impairment (SLI): Are There Differences Between Receptive and Expressive SLI?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 578-595. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0150)
History: Received July 1, 2007 , Revised February 9, 2008 , Accepted September 3, 2008
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2009, Vol. 52, 578-595. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2008/07-0150)
History: Received July 1, 2007; Revised February 9, 2008; Accepted September 3, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 16

Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) is assumed to be causally related to deficits in auditory short-term memory (STM). Although verbal STM deficits have been consistently found in SLI, the results of visual STM tests are inconsistent. Do these inconsistencies reflect different study populations of expressive SLI (ELI) and receptive–expressive SLI (R/ELI)?

Method Twenty-one children (ages 6–11) with ELI, 21 with R/ELI, and 21 controls (CG) matched on age and nonverbal intelligence were retrospectively compared with regard to their visual and auditory STM.

Results ELI children and R/ELI children performed significantly poorer than the CG in auditory-verbal STM tests. On tests for visual STM (symbol sequences), the R/ELI children performed significantly poorer than the CG. For hand movements, children with R/ELI scored slightly poorer compared to both other groups but without reaching statistical significance. Correlation analyses showed significant associations between symbol sequences and receptive language measures. Regression analysis found that the scores of symbol sequences and digit sequences together accounted for 39% of the variance of the receptive language measures, whereas the scores for nonsense syllables accounted for 24% of the variance of the expressive language measures.

Conclusion R/ELI children appear to have more complex STM deficits, as they showed visual STM constraints in addition to auditory STM constraints.

Acknowledgment
We thank Catherine von der Nahmer for her conscientious proofreading and Andreas Beyerlein for his competent support in statistical questions.
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