Processing Speed Measures as Clinical Markers for Children With Language Impairment Purpose This study investigated the relative utility of linguistic and nonlinguistic processing speed tasks as predictors of language impairment (LI) in children across 2 time points. Method Linguistic and nonlinguistic reaction time data, obtained from 131 children (89 children with typical development [TD] and 42 children with LI; ... Research Note
Research Note  |   June 01, 2015
Processing Speed Measures as Clinical Markers for Children With Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Jisook Park
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Carol A. Miller
    The Pennsylvania State University, State College
  • Elina Mainela-Arnold
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.×
  • Correspondence to Jisook Park: jzp151@psu.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack
    Associate Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Language / Research Notes
Research Note   |   June 01, 2015
Processing Speed Measures as Clinical Markers for Children With Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 954-960. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0092
History: Received April 2, 2014 , Revised October 11, 2014 , Accepted February 4, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 2015, Vol. 58, 954-960. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0092
History: Received April 2, 2014; Revised October 11, 2014; Accepted February 4, 2015
Web of Science® Times Cited: 2

Purpose This study investigated the relative utility of linguistic and nonlinguistic processing speed tasks as predictors of language impairment (LI) in children across 2 time points.

Method Linguistic and nonlinguistic reaction time data, obtained from 131 children (89 children with typical development [TD] and 42 children with LI; 74 boys and 57 girls) were analyzed in the 3rd and 8th grades. Receiver operating characteristic curve analyses and likelihood ratios were used to compare the diagnostic usefulness of each task. A binary logistic regression was used to test whether combined measures enhanced diagnostic accuracy.

Results In 3rd grade, a linguistic task, grammaticality judgment, provided the best discrimination between LI and TD groups. In 8th grade, a combination of linguistic and nonlinguistic tasks, rhyme judgment and simple response time, provided the best discrimination between groups.

Conclusions Processing speed tasks were moderately predictive of LI status at both time points. Better LR+ than LR– values suggested that slow processing speed was more predictive of the presence than the absence of LI. A nonlinguistic processing measure contributed to the prediction of LI only at 8th grade, consistent with the view that nonlinguistic and linguistic processing speeds follow different developmental trajectories.

Acknowledgments
The original study was supported by a clinical research center Grant P50 DC002746 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, awarded to J. Bruce Tomblin. We thank the Child Language Research Center at the University of Iowa and members of the Midwest Collaboration on SLI for the use of data. A preliminary report of these data was presented at the Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison, Wisconsin, in June 2013 and at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference in Chicago, IL, in November 2013.
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