Hidden Language Impairments in Children Parallels Between Poor Reading Comprehension and Specific Language Impairment? Research Article
Research Article  |   February 01, 2004
Hidden Language Impairments in Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Kate Nation
    University of Oxford, U.K.
  • Paula Clarke
    University of York, U.K.
  • Catherine M. Marshall
    University of Oxford, U.K. and University of York, U.K.
  • Marianne Durand
    University of York, U.K.
  • Contact author: Kate Nation, DPhil, Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3UD, United Kingdom. e-mail: kate.nation@psy.ox.ac.uk
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   February 01, 2004
Hidden Language Impairments in Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2004, Vol. 47, 199-211. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/017)
History: Received January 27, 2003 , Accepted June 4, 2003
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2004, Vol. 47, 199-211. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2004/017)
History: Received January 27, 2003; Accepted June 4, 2003
Web of Science® Times Cited: 172

This study investigates the oral language skills of 8-year-old children with impaired reading comprehension. Despite fluent and accurate reading and normal nonverbal ability, these children are poor at understanding what they have read. Tasks tapping 3 domains of oral language, namely phonology, semantics, and morphosyntax, were administered, along with measures that reflect an interaction of language domains that we refer to as broader language skills. Relative to control children matched for age and decoding ability, poor comprehenders were impaired across all measures except those tapping phonological skills. In addition to low oral language ability characterizing the group as a whole, some individuals had marked language impairments; it is argued that a substantial minority can be classified as having specific language impairment. However, none of the children had been previously recognized as having a language or reading impairment. These findings demonstrate that serious reading and language impairments are not always obvious in children who have good phonological ability and appear, superficially at least, to read well.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by a grant to the first author from The Wellcome Trust, and the data were collected while she was a member of the Department of Psychology at the University of York. We are grateful to the staff and pupils of the participating schools for their help and cooperation. We would also like to thank Karalyn Patterson and Helen Bird at the MRC Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit, Cambridge, for their help with the stimuli used in the past tense elicitation task.
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