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JSLHR-21-00156Ebert_SuppS1.pdf (309.07 kB)

Bilingualism, DLD, and processing speed (Ebert, 2021)

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posted on 2021-08-12, 17:12 authored by Kerry Danahy Ebert
Purpose: This study examined the influences of bilingualism and developmental language disorder (DLD) on nonverbal processing speed. DLD is associated with slower processing speed, but the extent to which slowing extends to bilingual populations is not established. The possible presence of bilingual cognitive effects could also lead to faster processing speed among bilingual children.
Method: Participants included 108 children of ages 6–8 years, including 56 Spanish–English bilinguals (29 with DLD and 27 with typical development) and 52 English-only monolinguals (25 with DLD and 27 with typical development). Language testing (in both languages for bilingual children) was combined with parent and school report to classify children as having DLD or typical language development. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were excluded from the sample. Reaction time from a choice visual detection task was used to index nonverbal processing speed.
Results: Children with DLD demonstrated slower processing speed than their typically developing peers, whereas bilingual children demonstrated faster processing speed than monolinguals. The effects of DLD and bilingualism did not interact.
Conclusions: This study replicates prior findings of slowed processing speed among children with DLD in both monolingual and bilingual children. Evidence of faster processing speed among bilingual children contributes to the complex literature surrounding the circumstances of bilingual cognitive effects.

Supplemental Material S1. Additional language exposure details for BI-TD and BI-DLD groups.

Ebert, K. D. (2021). Revisiting the influences of bilingualism and developmental language disorder on children’s nonverbal processing speed. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Advance online publication.


Data collection for this study was supported by NIH R03 DC013760 awarded to K. Ebert.