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Executive functioning in children with specific language impairment

Henry, Lucy A.; Messer, David J. and Nash, Gilly (2011). Executive functioning in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53(1) pp. 37–45.

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Background: A limited range of evidence suggests that children with specific language impairment (SLI) have difficulties with higher order thinking and reasoning skills (executive functioning, EF). This study involved a comprehensive investigation of EF in this population taking into account the contributions of age, nonverbal IQ and verbal ability.

Methods: Ten separate measures of EF were assessed in 160 children: 41 had SLI; 31 had low language/cognitive functioning but did not fulfil the criteria for SLI (low language functioning or LLF); and 88 were typically developing with no language difficulties. Group differences in performance were assessed after controlling for age, nonverbal IQ and verbal ability in a series of regression analyses.

Results: Children with SLI and LLF had significantly lower performance than typical children on 6 of the 10 EF tasks once age and nonverbal IQ had been controlled (verbal and nonverbal executive-loaded working memory, verbal and nonverbal fluency, nonverbal inhibition and nonverbal planning). Performance on these EF tasks remained lower for those in the SLI group even when verbal IQ was entered in the regressions.

Conclusions: Children with language impairments showed marked difficulties on a range of EF tasks. These difficulties were present even when adjustments were made for their verbal abilities.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2011 The Authors, Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health
ISSN: 1469-7610
Keywords: specific language impairment; executive functioning; children; verbal IQ; nonverbal IQ
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Education and Educational Technology (CREET)
Item ID: 31354
Depositing User: David Messer
Date Deposited: 24 Jan 2012 12:41
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 10:00
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