Motor Issues in Specific Language Impairment: a Window into the Underlying Impairment

Teenu Sanjeevan, David A. Rosenbaum, Carol Miller, Janet G. van Hell, Daniel J. Weiss, Elina Mainela-Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


This paper reviews the findings of recent studies examining the motor abilities of children with specific language impairment (SLI). Standardized measures of motor ability confirm that children with SLI exhibit deficits in fine and gross motor skill, both simple and complex. These difficulties also extend to speech-motor ability, particularly with the control of their articulatory movements. Communicative gesturing, on the other hand, does not appear to be significantly impacted in SLI. Some of the latest studies reviewed in this paper have examined motor processes supported by procedural memory, which is argued to be impaired in SLI. The results of these studies indicate that children with SLI have difficulty with motor sequence learning, but may show deficits in other procedural motor processes as well. Despite significant progress with understanding the motor issues in SLI, future studies are needed to hone in on the nature of this impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-236
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Developmental Disorders Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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