Markers, Models, and Measurement Error: Exploring the Links Between Attention Deficits and Language Impairments Purpose The empirical record regarding the expected co-occurrence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and specific language impairment is confusing and contradictory. A research plan is presented that has the potential to untangle links between these 2 common neurodevelopmental disorders. Method Data from completed and ongoing research projects examining the ... Review Article
Review Article  |   February 01, 2016
Markers, Models, and Measurement Error: Exploring the Links Between Attention Deficits and Language Impairments
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sean M. Redmond
    University of Utah, Salt Lake City
  • Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The author has declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Sean M. Redmond: sean.redmond@health.utah.edu
  • Editor: Rhea Paul
    Editor: Rhea Paul×
  • Associate Editor: Mabel Rice
    Associate Editor: Mabel Rice×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Review Article
Review Article   |   February 01, 2016
Markers, Models, and Measurement Error: Exploring the Links Between Attention Deficits and Language Impairments
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 62-71. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0088
History: Received March 1, 2015 , Revised June 12, 2015 , Accepted June 15, 2015
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, February 2016, Vol. 59, 62-71. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-15-0088
History: Received March 1, 2015; Revised June 12, 2015; Accepted June 15, 2015

Purpose The empirical record regarding the expected co-occurrence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and specific language impairment is confusing and contradictory. A research plan is presented that has the potential to untangle links between these 2 common neurodevelopmental disorders.

Method Data from completed and ongoing research projects examining the relative value of different clinical markers for separating cases of specific language impairment from ADHD are presented.

Results The best option for measuring core language impairments in a manner that does not potentially penalize individuals with ADHD is to focus assessment on key grammatical and verbal memory skills. Likewise, assessment of ADHD symptoms through standardized informant rating scales is optimized when they are adjusted for overlapping language and academic symptoms.

Conclusion As a collection, these clinical metrics set the stage for further examination of potential linkages between attention deficits and language impairments.

Acknowledgment
Funding was provided by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01DC011023 (“Co-Occurrence of Language and Attention Difficulties in Children”) awarded to the author. This review article is based on a plenary talk presentation by the author at the 2014 Symposium for Research in Child Language Disorders, Madison WI.
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