Longitudinal trajectories of representation and access to phonological information in bilingual children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI)

The study describes the development of various linguistic processing abilities in bilingual children with SLI between 6 and 12 years old. The results found that, at all ages, children with SLI had difficulties in repetition of sentences, in phonological fluency (production and correct expression of sounds and words) and phonological awareness without visual signs (awareness of the structure of sound or a word). However, although children with SLI had difficulties at early ages with quickly automatic naming, that ability improved over the years. Finally, other language skills didn’t present difficulties for children with SLI at any time, such as semantic fluency (ability to know the meaning of words correctly) and phonological awareness with visual signs.

Thus, children with SLI present persistent difficulties in tasks related especially to the segmentation of words and the maintenance of verbal units in working phonological memory, which makes it difficult for them to stock up, manipulate and access information. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen these skills, especially phonological work memory, in children with SLI from an early age, because a problem in these can suppose communication difficulties in children with SLI.

Reference: Buil-Legaz L, Adrover-Roig, D, Aguilar-Mediavilla E. (2016). Longitudinal trajectories of the representation and access to phonological information in bilingual children with Specific Language Impairment. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 18(5):473-82.