Structural Relationship Between Cognitive Processing and Syntactic Sentence Comprehension in Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder Purpose We assessed the potential direct and indirect (mediated) influences of 4 cognitive mechanisms we believe are theoretically relevant to canonical and noncanonical sentence comprehension of school-age children with and without developmental language disorder (DLD). Method One hundred seventeen children with DLD and 117 propensity-matched typically developing (TD) ... Research Article
Newly Published
Research Article  |   October 31, 2018
Structural Relationship Between Cognitive Processing and Syntactic Sentence Comprehension in Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • James W. Montgomery
    Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Ohio University, Athens
  • Julia L. Evans
    School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas–Dallas, Richardson
  • Jamison D. Fargo
    Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan
  • Sarah Schwartz
    Department of Psychology, Utah State University, Logan
  • Ronald B. Gillam
    Department of Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education, Utah State University, Logan
  • Disclosure: Ron Gillam receives royalties from the sale of the Test of Narrative Language, which was administered to participants. No other competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: Ron Gillam receives royalties from the sale of the Test of Narrative Language, which was administered to participants. No other competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to James W. Montgomery: montgoj1@ohio.edu
  • Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond
    Editor-in-Chief: Sean Redmond×
  • Editor: Lisa Archibald
    Editor: Lisa Archibald×
Article Information
Language Disorders / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Newly Published / Research Article
Research Article   |   October 31, 2018
Structural Relationship Between Cognitive Processing and Syntactic Sentence Comprehension in Children With and Without Developmental Language Disorder
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0421
History: Received November 11, 2017 , Revised April 2, 2018 , Accepted June 29, 2018
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, Newly Published. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-L-17-0421
History: Received November 11, 2017; Revised April 2, 2018; Accepted June 29, 2018

Purpose We assessed the potential direct and indirect (mediated) influences of 4 cognitive mechanisms we believe are theoretically relevant to canonical and noncanonical sentence comprehension of school-age children with and without developmental language disorder (DLD).

Method One hundred seventeen children with DLD and 117 propensity-matched typically developing (TD) children participated. Comprehension was indexed by children identifying the agent in implausible sentences. Children completed cognitive tasks indexing the latent predictors of fluid reasoning (FLD-R), controlled attention (CATT), complex working memory (cWM), and long-term memory language knowledge (LTM-LK).

Results Structural equation modeling revealed that the best model fit was an indirect model in which cWM mediated the relationship among FLD-R, CATT, LTM-LK, and sentence comprehension. For TD children, comprehension of both sentence types was indirectly influenced by FLD-R (pattern recognition) and LTM-LK (linguistic chunking). For children with DLD, canonical sentence comprehension was indirectly influenced by LTM-LK and CATT, and noncanonical comprehension was indirectly influenced just by CATT.

Conclusions cWM mediates sentence comprehension in children with DLD and TD children. For TD children, comprehension occurs automatically through pattern recognition and linguistic chunking. For children with DLD, comprehension is cognitively effortful. Whereas canonical comprehension occurs through chunking, noncanonical comprehension develops on a word-by-word basis.

Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.7178939

Acknowledgments
This study was funded by Grant R01 DC010883 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communicative Disorders, awarded to Julia L. Evans, Ronald B. Gillam, and James W. Montgomery. Special thanks to Alexander Sergeev, who conducted the propensity matching. We express our gratitude to all the children and their parents who participated in this project. We also thank Beula Magimairaj, Naveen Nagaraj, Misha Finney, Yazmine Ahmad Rusli, Jenny Boyden, Andrea Fung, Katie Squires, Kelly Rogers, Llely Duarte, Allison Hancock, and Farzaneh Vahabi for their assistance during various phases of this study.
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