Planning Deficits in Children With Specific Language Impairment Are Reflected in Unnecessarily Awkward Grasps Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) affects many children, but its symptomatology is still being characterized. An emerging view, which challenges the notion that SLI is specific to language, is that SLI may actually reflect a domain-general deficit in procedural learning. We explored an extension of this hypothesis that a core ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 17, 2018
Planning Deficits in Children With Specific Language Impairment Are Reflected in Unnecessarily Awkward Grasps
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teenu Sanjeevan
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • David A. Rosenbaum
    University of California, Riverside
  • Elina Mainela-Arnold
    University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    University of Turku, Finland
  • 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: Lizbeth Finestack
    Editor: Lizbeth Finestack×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Language / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 17, 2018
Planning Deficits in Children With Specific Language Impairment Are Reflected in Unnecessarily Awkward Grasps
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 887-896. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0246
History: Received June 23, 2017 , Revised August 31, 2017 , Accepted December 12, 2017
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2018, Vol. 61, 887-896. doi:10.1044/2017_JSLHR-L-17-0246
History: Received June 23, 2017; Revised August 31, 2017; Accepted December 12, 2017

Purpose Specific language impairment (SLI) affects many children, but its symptomatology is still being characterized. An emerging view, which challenges the notion that SLI is specific to language, is that SLI may actually reflect a domain-general deficit in procedural learning. We explored an extension of this hypothesis that a core deficit in SLI involves a domain-general problem in planning.

Method We used a dowel-transport task to study the extent to which 13 children with SLI and 14 typically developing (TD) controls (ages over both groups between 8;10 [years;months] and 12;11) would adopt initially awkward grasps that ensured comfortable final grasps when reaching out to move a dowel from 1 position to another (the end-state comfort effect). We predicted that children with SLI would be less likely to use end-state comfort grasps than would TD children.

Results Contrary to our prediction, when awkward grasps were needed to ensure comfortable final grasps, participants with SLI showed the end-state comfort effect as often as the TD children did. Unexpectedly, however, in trials where awkward grasps were not needed for comfortable final grasps, the participants with SLI used more awkward grasps than did the TD participants after trials in which initial awkward grasps were needed.

Conclusion We suggest that this perseverative behavior is indicative of a domain-general problem in planning in SLI.

Acknowledgments
A grant from the Connaught Fund (Elina Mainela-Arnold, principal investigator) supported this research, as did a University of California Committee on Research grant (David Rosenbaum, principal investigator). The authors thank Yana Yunusova, Tim Welsh, Luc De Nil, Carol Miller, Janet van Hell, and Daniel Weiss for helpful discussions, the Toronto District School Board for help with recruitment, and the families who participated in this study. The authors are also grateful to Asmait Abraha, Serena Appalsamy, and Kalya Perlmutter for help with data collection and scoring.
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