Sentence Comprehension in Postinstitutionalized School-Age Children PurposeIn this study, the authors investigated sentence comprehension and spatial working memory abilities in a sample of internationally adopted, postinstitutionalized (PI) children. The authors compared the performance of these PI children with that of an age-matched group of children living with their birth families. They hypothesized that PI children would ... Article
Article  |   February 01, 2012
Sentence Comprehension in Postinstitutionalized School-Age Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Chantal Desmarais
    Université Laval, Québec, Québec, Canada
  • Barbara J. Roeber
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Mary E. Smith
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Seth D. Pollak
    University of Wisconsin—Madison
  • Correspondence to Seth D. Pollak: spollak@wisc.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Gina Conti-Ramsden
    Associate Editor: Gina Conti-Ramsden×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / School-Based Settings / Healthcare Settings / Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language
Article   |   February 01, 2012
Sentence Comprehension in Postinstitutionalized School-Age Children
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 45-54. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0246)
History: Received September 1, 2010 , Revised February 11, 2011 , Accepted June 20, 2011
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2012, Vol. 55, 45-54. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0246)
History: Received September 1, 2010; Revised February 11, 2011; Accepted June 20, 2011
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

PurposeIn this study, the authors investigated sentence comprehension and spatial working memory abilities in a sample of internationally adopted, postinstitutionalized (PI) children. The authors compared the performance of these PI children with that of an age-matched group of children living with their birth families. They hypothesized that PI children would perform below clinical threshold on tasks of sentence comprehension and that poor sentence comprehension would be associated with poor performance in working memory.

MethodTwenty-three PI children and 36 comparison children were administered sentence comprehension and spatial memory tasks from standardized assessments.

ResultsSome oral sentence comprehension skills and the spatial working memory skills were weaker in the school-age PI children than in the age-matched comparison children. A mediational analysis demonstrated that poor spatial working memory performance partially explains the sentence comprehension differences between the 2 groups.

ConclusionThese findings provide valuable information to better plan early intervention and special education for PI children.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant GR01 MH068858, awarded to the fourth author. Infrastructure support was provided by the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin through National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant P30-HD03352 (M. Seltzer, P.I.). We acknowledge the research assistance provided by Daniel M. Bolt, Erin V. Henigan, Mary F. Schlaak, and Stacy McCarthy. We greatly appreciate the children and their families whose participation made this research possible.
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