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Phonological and Visuospatial Short-Term Memory in Children With Specific Language Impairment

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An investigation was carried out into the phonological short-term memory (PSTM) and visuospatial short-term memory (VSSTM) skills of children with specific language impairment (SLI; n = 41) using memory span tasks. Individuals with SLI were compared with children who had milder degrees of language difficulty (“low language functioning” [LLF]; n = 31) and children with typical development (n = 88). Regression analyses examined the effects of group after controlling for age and non-verbal IQ; further regressions included an additional control for verbal IQ. Even after controlling for all of these variables, children with SLI and LLF showed significantly weaker PSTM than children with typical development. For VSSTM, there were no overall group differences in performance. The findings imply that the PSTM difficulties that have been reported in children with SLI are substantial, whereas VSSTM appears to be an area of relative strength for most children with SLI.
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Keywords: CHILDREN; PHONOLOGICAL SHORT-TERM MEMORY; SPECIFIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT; VISUOSPATIAL SHORT-TERM MEMORY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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