Influence of Language Load on Speech Motor Skill in Children With Specific Language Impairment Purpose Children with specific language impairment (SLI) show particular deficits in the generation of sequenced action: the quintessential procedural task. Practiced imitation of a sequence may become rote and require reduced procedural memory. This study explored whether speech motor deficits in children with SLI occur generally or only in conditions ... Research Article
Research Article  |   March 15, 2018
Influence of Language Load on Speech Motor Skill in Children With Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Meredith Saletta
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Lisa Goffman
    Callier Center for Communication Disorders, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Caitlin Ward
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Jacob Oleson
    The University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • 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 Meredith Saletta: meredith-saletta@uiowa.edu
  • Note that data were collected while Lisa Goffman was with the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.
    Note that data were collected while Lisa Goffman was with the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.×
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Jan de Jong
    Editor: Jan de Jong×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   March 15, 2018
Influence of Language Load on Speech Motor Skill in Children With Specific Language Impairment
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 675-689. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0066
History: Received February 16, 2017 , Revised July 5, 2017 , Accepted November 16, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, March 2018, Vol. 61, 675-689. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0066
History: Received February 16, 2017; Revised July 5, 2017; Accepted November 16, 2017

Purpose Children with specific language impairment (SLI) show particular deficits in the generation of sequenced action: the quintessential procedural task. Practiced imitation of a sequence may become rote and require reduced procedural memory. This study explored whether speech motor deficits in children with SLI occur generally or only in conditions of high linguistic load, whether speech motor deficits diminish with practice, and whether it is beneficial to incorporate conditions of high load to understand speech production.

Method Children with SLI and typical development participated in a syntactic priming task during which they generated sentences (high linguistic load) and, then, practiced repeating a sentence (low load) across 3 sessions. We assessed phonetic accuracy, speech movement variability, and duration.

Results Children with SLI produced more variable articulatory movements than peers with typical development in the high load condition. The groups converged in the low load condition. Children with SLI continued to show increased articulatory stability over 3 practice sessions. Both groups produced generated sentences with increased duration and variability compared with repeated sentences.

Conclusions Linguistic demands influence speech motor production. Children with SLI show reduced speech motor performance in tasks that require language generation but not when task demands are reduced in rote practice.

Acknowledgments
This project was supported by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Grant R01 DC04826 (awarded to Lisa Goffman). The authors would like to thank Mitch Barna, Sara Benham, Janna Berlin, Barbara Brown, Lakin Brown, Allison Gladfelter, Amanda Steeb, and Janet Vuolo for their help with multiple components of this project.
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