The nature of written language deficits in children with SLI

Clare Mackie, Julie E Dockrell
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research: JSLHR 2004, 47 (6): 1469-83
Children with specific language impairment (SLI) have associated difficulties in reading decoding and reading comprehension. To date, few research studies have examined the children's written language. The aim of the present study was to (a) evaluate the nature and extent of the children's difficulties with writing and (b) investigate the relationship between oral and written language. Eleven children with SLI were identified (mean age = 11 years) and were compared with a group of children matched for chronological age (CA; mean age = 11;2 [years;months]) and language age (LA; mean CA = 7;3). All groups completed standardized measures of language production, writing, and reading decoding. The writing assessment revealed that the SLI group wrote fewer words and produced proportionately more syntax errors than the CA group, but they did not differ on a measure of content of written language or on the proportion of spelling errors. The SLI group also produced proportionately more syntax errors than the LA group. The relationships among oral language, reading, and writing differed for the 3 groups. The nature and extent of the children's written language problems are considered in the context of difficulties with spoken language.


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