Why Do Children With Specific Language Impairment Name Pictures More Slowly Than Their Peers? To examine the role of different cognitive processes in accounting for the slower naming times of children with specific language impairment (SLI) relative to peers with no language impairment (NLI), three tasks designed to stress different types of processing were administered: naming pictures with the signal to respond presented at ... Research Article
Research Article  |   October 01, 1996
Why Do Children With Specific Language Impairment Name Pictures More Slowly Than Their Peers?
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Margaret Lahey
    Emerson College Boston, MA
  • Jan Edwards
    Ohio State University Columbus
  • Contact author: Margaret Lahey, Emerson College, Division of Communication Disorders, 100 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116. Email: edwards.212@osu.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 1996
Why Do Children With Specific Language Impairment Name Pictures More Slowly Than Their Peers?
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1996, Vol. 39, 1081-1098. doi:10.1044/jshr.3905.1081
History: Received July 10, 1995 , Accepted May 16, 1996
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, October 1996, Vol. 39, 1081-1098. doi:10.1044/jshr.3905.1081
History: Received July 10, 1995; Accepted May 16, 1996

To examine the role of different cognitive processes in accounting for the slower naming times of children with specific language impairment (SLI) relative to peers with no language impairment (NLI), three tasks designed to stress different types of processing were administered: naming pictures with the signal to respond presented at various delay intervals, naming following different durations of exposure to identical and unrelated primes, and vocally responding to nonlinguistic stimuli. Children with SLI, aged 4 to 9.5 years, were significantly slower than their NLI age peers on naming and on responding to nonlinguistic stimuli, but the effect of delay interval before naming and of duration of prime exposure before naming was similar for both groups. Results suggested that speed of naming is related to the slower nonlinguistic response processing of children with SLI and not to speed of their linguistic or perceptual processing. To examine differences in processing that might relate to pattern of language performance we examined responses of two subgroups of SLI. The subgroup of children whose language problems involved expressive but not receptive skills was not significantly slower than their NLI peers. The children whose problems involved both expressive and receptive language were significantly slower, but this was influenced by age. Findings are discussed in terms of language performance, age, task variables, and a generalized rate-limiting factor.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported in part by NIDCD grant #DC00676 awarded to Margaret Lahey and Jan Edwards; by Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Grant #12–256 to Margaret Lahey by the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation; by PSC-CUNY grant #669476 to Jan Edwards; and by a grant from The Institutes of Communication Studies at Emerson College to Margaret Lahey. For their help with data collection and other aspects of the study, we thank Suzanne Boyce, Shari Diamond, Amy Ebersole, Sarita Eisenberg, Bernadette Kuntz, Sarah Letsky, Ita Olsen, Gayle Rothman, and Bonnie Singer; for help with computer programs, we thank Philip Enny; for help with statistical analyses we thank Bea Kraus, Ying Xu, Hongbin Wang, and Xiong Hu; and for their thoughtful comments on an earlier version of this paper, we thank Lois Bloom, Diane Bradley, Robert Kail, Larry Leonard, and Susan Ellis Weismer. Finally, we thank the institutions that helped us locate the children, the parents who gave their consent and completed the questionnaires, and the children who participated in the study.
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