Information Processing Speed as a Predictor of IQ in Children with and Without Specific Language Impairment in Grades 3 and 8

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Processing Speed, IQ, Specific Language Impairment

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Purpose: This study investigated (1) whether nonlinguistic processing speed predicts nonverbal IQ in TD children and children with SLI and (2) if the proposed relationship is different at two time points.

Method: The participants consisted of a subset of a longitudinal dataset, 55 typically developing children and 55 children with SLI. Children completed four nonverbal speed tasks and four subtests of the WISC-III. The WISC-III subtests requiring timed and untimed responses were examined separately.

Results: Linear mixed model analyses indicated that in both groups, processing speed predicted nonverbal IQ subtests that reward speedy responses, but not IQ subtests that do not. The relationships between processing speed and IQ with speed bonuses did not differ at grades 3 and 8, and these relationships also were not significantly different in children with SLI and their TD peers.

Conclusions: The results suggest that the presence of processing speed limitations in many children with SLI raises questions about the utility of timed nonverbal IQ measures as tools for diagnosis of SLI. Future studies should investigate other cognitive assessments that could be used as inclusionary criteria for SLI.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Communication Disorders, v. 53, p. 57-69