Children With Specific Language Impairment Linguistic Impairment or Short-Term Memory Deficit? Research Article
Research Article  |   December 01, 1993
Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Heather K. J. van der Lely
    Department of Psychology Birkbeck College University of London
  • David Howard
    Department of Psychology Birkbeck College University of London
  • Contact author: H. K. J. van der Lely, Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HX. E-Mail: UBJTP45@CCS.BBK.AC.UK
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   December 01, 1993
Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1193-1207. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1193
History: Received March 10, 1992 , Accepted March 31, 1993
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, December 1993, Vol. 36, 1193-1207. doi:10.1044/jshr.3606.1193
History: Received March 10, 1992; Accepted March 31, 1993

This study is concerned with characteristics of short-term memory (STM) in children with specific language impairment (SLI). The linguistic requirements of the test procedure, the characteristics of the test materials, and the development of linguistic representations were considered. Two experimental tasks were used: a verbal-repetition and a picture-pointing procedure. The tasks used auditory presentation and were designed to explore different underlying processes during immediate recall. The linguistic characteristics of the test materials were designed to explore the influence of semantic, lexical, and phonological factors on STM. Six SLI children (aged 6:1 to 9:6) (years:months) were individually matched on comprehension and expression of language to 17 younger children (age 3:4 to 6:5). Both groups were differentially influenced by the materials as a function of the test procedure. In general, both group and individual analyses found no significant difference between the performance of the SLI children and language-age (LA) controls. The implications of the results in relation to previous findings from investigations of STM and the underlying cause of SLI in children are discussed.

Acknowledgments
This study is based on part of a doctoral dissertation submitted by the first author to the University of London and supported by a competition studentship, grant number A00428724030, from the Economic and Social Research council. Our thanks are due to Margaret Harris for her supervision of this work.
We also wish to thank the staff of Glebe Infants School, Moorlands Day Nursery, and the speech-language pathologists who assisted us in finding appropriate subjects for this investigation. Acknowledgement is also due to Elizabeth Skarakis-Doyle for her editorial advice and comments and to Steven Long and two anonymous reviewers for their very helpful comments on an earlier draft of this paper.
The preparation of this paper was supported by a British Academy postdoctoral fellowship to the first author, and is gratefully acknowledged. David Howard was supported by the Medical Research Council.
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