Specific language or working memory impairments: A small scale observational study
Child Language Teaching and Therapy
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Study of the developmental relationship between language and working memory skills has only just begun, despite the prominent role of their interdependency in some theoretical accounts of developmental language impairments. Recently, Archibald and Joanisse (2009) identified children with specific language impairment (SLI), or specific working memory impairment (SWMI), or mixed language and working memory impairment (Mixed) based on standardized testing. In the present study, we report a first effort to provide clinical verification of these profiles by describing the social, behavioral, and academic characteristics of individual group members. Two each of children with SLI, SWMI, or Mixed impairments, individually paired with six typically developing classmates, were observed in their classroom, and their teachers completed questionnaires related to communication, working memory, and attention. Children with impairments were distinguished from typically developing children; however, relatively few patterns further distinguished the children with SLI, SWMI, and Mixed impairments. Interestingly, the children with memory impairments were found to have some language-related difficulties, and the children with language impairments, some memory-related difficulties. The limitations of these preliminary findings and future directions are discussed. © The Author(s) 2011.