Preschool processing skills provide reading results in bilingual Spanish-Catalan children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI)

Children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) have an alteration or a delay in the development of oral language and, thus, show linguistic difficulties. Nevertheless, SLI shows up without cognitive and auditory deficits, neurological damage or socio-emotional deprivation. Notwithstanding, previous studies have shown that children with SLI show some cognitive and literacy problems.

In this way, the study in question intends to analyse the relationship between cognitive and linguistic abilities of preschool children and the development of reading skills in bilingual Spanish-Catalan children with SLI. In this way, once the study was carried out, the results showed that Catalan-Spanish bilingual children with TEL show lower scoring in consciousness and phonological memory, tasks of repetition of sentences, verbal fluency and auditory attention, in comparison with children, who show a typical development. In addition, it was seen that at the age of 8 years, bilingual Spanish-Catalan children with TEL also show lower scoring in the total reading score, in the identification of the letters or decoding and in the semantic task or comprehension.

After having made the analysis, results showed that phonological awareness and verbal fluency at 6 years are the best predictors of success for reading performance at 8 years. Finally, the study concluded that difficulties in language acquisition and difficulties in reading acquisition in bilingual children with SLI could be associated with a limitation of cognitive processing and a deficit at the linguistic level. In this way, it is very important to work both phonological awareness and verbal fluency from the first years of school attendance to ensure a better reading performance, as well as cognitive and linguistic skills to facilitate the acquisition and development of language and reading.

Reference: Aguilar-Mediavilla E, Buil-Legaz L, Pérez-Castelló JA, Rigo-Carratalà E. & Adrover-Roig D. (2014). Early preschool processing abilities predict subsequent reading outcomes in bilingual Spanish-Catalan children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI). Journal of Communication Disorders; 50:19-35.