Speed of Processing in Children with Specific Language Impairment

Carol A. Miller, Robert Kail, Laurence B. Leonard, J. Bruce Tomblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

363 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to investigate the speed with which children with specific language impairment (SLI) respond on a range of tasks. Seventy-seven third-grade children participated in 10 different tasks (involving a total of 41 conditions), including nonlinguistic and linguistic activities. Mean response times (RTs) of children with SLI (n = 29) increased as a function of mean RTs of children with normal language (NLD, n = 29) under each of three different regression models; children with SLI responded more slowly across all task conditions, and also when linguistic and nonlinguistic tasks were analyzed separately. Children with nonspecific language impairment (NLI) were also included (n = 19). The results were similar to those for children with SLI, but the degree of slowing was greater. The results of the group analyses support the hypothesis that speed of processing in children with SLI is generally slower than that of children with normal language. However, some children with SLI do not appear to show deficits of this type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)416-433
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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