Blog Archives

Sensitivity and Specificity of French Language and Processing Measures for the Identification of Primary Language Impairment at Age 5

Conclusions: This study provides evidence that standardized measures of language and language processing provide accurate identification of PLI in French. The results are strikingly similar to previous results for English, suggesting that in spite of structural differences between the languages, PLI in both languages involves a generalized language delay across linguistic domains, which can be identified in a similar way using existing standardized measures.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Explaining Lexical–Semantic Deficits in Specific Language Impairment: The Role of Phonological Similarity, Phonological Working Memory, and Lexical Competition

Conclusions: Individual differences in richness of lexical semantic representations as well as differences between children with SLI and typically developing peers may—at least, in part—be explained by processes of competition. However, difficulty with auditory perception or phonological working memory does not fully explain difficulties in lexical semantics.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Lexicality and Frequency in Specific Language Impairment: Accuracy and Error Data from Two Nonword Repetition Tests

Conclusions: The data show support for a phonological processing deficit in children with SLI, where long-term lexical and sublexical phonological knowledge mediate the interpretation of nonwords. However, the data also suggest that while phonological processing may provide a key explanation of SLI, a full account is likely to be multifaceted.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

The Role of Vocal Practice in Constructing Phonological Working Memory

Conclusions: Performance depended on familiarity with words or their subunits and was strongest for real words, weaker for IN words, and weakest for OUT words. The results demonstrate the important role of speech production in the construction of phonological working memory.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Extending Use of the NRT to Preschool-Age Children With and Without Specific Language Impairment

The NRT yielded results similar to those reported for older children. However, despite its strengths, the NRT is not sufficient for screening the general population of 4- and 5-year-olds.

from Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools

A locus for an auditory processing deficit and language impairment in an extended pedigree maps to 12p13.31-q14.3

Despite the apparent robustness of language learning in humans, a large number of children still fail to develop appropriate language skills despite adequate means and opportunity. Most cases of language impairment have a complex etiology, with genetic and environmental influences. In contrast, we describe a three-generation German family who present with an apparently simple segregation of language impairment. Investigations of the family indicate auditory processing difficulties as a core deficit. Affected members performed poorly on a nonword repetition task and present with communication impairments. The brain activation pattern for syllable duration as measured by event-related brain potentials showed clear differences between affected family members and controls, with only affected members displaying a late discrimination negativity. In conjunction with psychoacoustic data showing deficiencies in auditory duration discrimination, the present results indicate increased processing demands in discriminating syllables of different duration. This, we argue, forms the cognitive basis of the observed language impairment in this family. Genome-wide linkage analysis showed a haplotype in the central region of chromosome 12 which reaches the maximum possible logarithm of odds ratio (LOD) score and fully co-segregates with the language impairment, consistent with an autosomal dominant, fully penetrant mode of inheritance. Whole genome analysis yielded no novel inherited copy number variants strengthening the case for a simple inheritance pattern. Several genes in this region of chromosome 12 which are potentially implicated in language impairment did not contain polymorphisms likely to be the causative mutation, which is as yet unknown

from Genes, Brain and Behavior

Does phonological short-term memory causally determine vocabulary learning? Toward a computational resolution of the debate

The relationship between nonword repetition ability and vocabulary size and vocabulary learning has been a topic of intense research interest and investigation over the last two decades, following the demonstration that nonword repetition accuracy is predictive of vocabulary size (Gathercole & Baddeley, 1989). However, the nature of this relationship is not well understood. One prominent account posits that phonological short-term memory (PSTM) is a causal determinant both of nonword repetition ability and of phonological vocabulary learning, with the observed correlation between the two reflecting the effect of this underlying third variable (e.g., Baddeley, Gathercole, & Papagno, 1998). An alternative account proposes the opposite causality: that it is phonological vocabulary size that causally determines nonword repetition ability (e.g., Snowling, Chiat, & Hulme, 1991). We present a theory of phonological vocabulary learning, instantiated as a computational model. The model offers a precise account of the construct of PSTM, of performance in the nonword repetition task, of novel word form learning, and of the relationship between all of these. We show through simulation not only that PSTM causally affects both nonword repetition accuracy and phonological vocabulary size, but also that phonological vocabulary size causally affects nonword repetition ability. The plausibility of the model is supported by the fact that its nonword repetition accuracy displays effects of phonotactic probability and of nonword length, which have been taken as evidence for causal effects on nonword repetition accuracy of phonological vocabulary knowledge and PSTM, respectively. Thus the model makes explicit how the causal links posited by the two theoretical perspectives are both valid, in the process reconciling the two perspectives, and indicating that an opposition between them is unnecessary.

from the Journal of Memory and Language

On the Sensitivity and Specificity of Nonword Repetition and Sentence Recall to Language and Memory Impairments in Children

Results: Approximately equal numbers of children were identified with specific impairments in either language or working memory. A group about twice as large had deficits in both language and working memory. Sensitivity of the screening measure for both SLI and Specific Working Memory Impairments (SWMI) was 84% or greater, although specificity was closer to 50%. Sentence recall performance below the 10th percentile was associated with sensitivity and specificity values above 80% for SLI.

Conclusions: Developmental deficits may be specific to language or working memory, or include impairments in both areas. Sentence recall is a useful clinical marker of SLI and combined language and working memory impairments.

from the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

Fast mapping semantic features: Performance of adults with normal language, history of disorders of spoken and written language, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder on a word learning task

Adults with language and attention deficits are more impaired at word learning than adults with language deficits only. Despite behavioral profiles like typical peers, adults with hDSWL may use different processing strategies than their peers.

from the Journal of Communication Disorders