Procedural Motor Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder that affects language and motor development in the absence of a clear cause. An explanation for these impairments is offered by the procedural deficit hypothesis (PDH), which argues that motor difficulties in SLI are due to deficits in procedural memory. The ... Research Article
Research Article  |   November 09, 2017
Procedural Motor Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teenu Sanjeevan
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Elina Mainela-Arnold
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Department of Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology, University of Turku, Finland
  • Teenu Sanjeevan is now at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
    Teenu Sanjeevan is now at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, 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 Teenu Sanjeevan: tsanjeevan@hollandbloorview.ca
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Geralyn Timler
    Editor: Geralyn Timler×
Article Information
Development / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   November 09, 2017
Procedural Motor Learning in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3259-3269. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0457
History: Received December 19, 2016 , Revised April 28, 2017 , Accepted July 10, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, November 2017, Vol. 60, 3259-3269. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-16-0457
History: Received December 19, 2016; Revised April 28, 2017; Accepted July 10, 2017

Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder that affects language and motor development in the absence of a clear cause. An explanation for these impairments is offered by the procedural deficit hypothesis (PDH), which argues that motor difficulties in SLI are due to deficits in procedural memory. The aim of this study was to test the PDH by examining the procedural motor learning abilities of children with and without SLI.

Method Thirteen children with SLI and 14 age-matched typically developing children completed the following procedural measures: (a) a knot-tying task as a measure of motor sequencing and (2) a mirror-drawing task as a measure of visual–motor adaptation.

Results Although children with SLI produced significantly more errors on certain knot-tying tasks, they performed comparably on others. Also, children with SLI performed comparably with typically developing children on the mirror-drawing task.

Conclusions The PDH requires reframing. The sequence learning deficits in SLI are modest and specific to more difficult tasks. Visual–motor adaptation, on the other hand, appears to be unaffected in SLI.

Acknowledgments
A grant from the Connaught Fund (Elina Mainela-Arnold, principal investigator) supported this research. We thank Yana Yunusova, Tim Welsh, Luc De Nil, David Rosenbaum Carol Miller, Janet van Hell, and Daniel Weiss for helpful discussions throughout this research. We sincerely thank the Toronto District School Board for assisting us with recruitment and the families who participated in this study. We are also grateful to Asmait Abraha, Serena Appalsamy, and Kalya Perlmutter for their work on collecting and scoring the data.
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