Lexical access and literacy in children with word-finding difficulties

Messer, David and Dockrell, Julie (2011). Lexical access and literacy in children with word-finding difficulties. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 46(4) pp. 473–480.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-6984.2011.00009.x


Background & Aims: In order to understand better the lexical access abilities in children with word-finding difficulties, the extent of serial naming speed difficulties in these children as well as the degree to which serial and discrete naming tasks are related to one another and to literacy abilities was investigated. This enabled some of the predictions made in the double-deficit hypothesis of Wolf and Bowers to be tested. Methods & Procedures: Eighteen children with word-finding difficulties completed naming and literacy tasks at 8;6 years and literacy tasks at 9;8 years. Outcomes & Results: Children with word-finding difficulties had very slow serial naming, despite their non-verbal and literacy abilities often being in the typical range. Serial and discrete naming speeds were not closely related. The performance on serial naming tasks that involved alphanumeric items provided the strongest correlations with decoding and reading comprehension. Conclusions & Implications: Discrete and serial naming tasks appear to assess different aspects of lexical access, and only partial support was obtained for the double-deficit hypothesis. The findings also suggest that a reason for the correlation between the children's serial naming speed for letters/digits and their literacy could be because both are structurally similar tasks.

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