ASHA journals
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Executive Functions in SLI (Pauls & Archibald, 2016)

journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-23, 05:09 authored by Laura J. Pauls, Lisa M. D. Archibald
Purpose: Mounting evidence demonstrates deficits in children with specific language impairment (SLI) beyond the linguistic domain. Using meta-analysis, this study examined differences in children with and without SLI on tasks measuring inhibition and cognitive flexibility.
Method: Databases were searched for articles comparing children (4–14 years) with and without SLI on behavioral measures of inhibition or cognitive flexibility. Weighted average effect size was calculated using multilevel modeling to measure potential group differences.
Results: The analysis included 46 studies. Of those, 34 included inhibitory control measures and 22 included cognitive flexibility tasks. Children with SLI performed below same-aged peers on both inhibitory control tasks (g = −.56) and cognitive flexibility tasks (g = −.27). Moderator analyses showed no effect of linguistic task demands, participant age, or severity of language impairment on the degree of difference between children with SLI and controls on measures of inhibitory control.
Conclusion: Reliable differences between children with and without SLI were found on inhibition and cognitive flexibility tasks. A moderate group effect was found for inhibition tasks, but there was only a small effect for cognitive flexibility tasks. Results of moderator analyses suggest that these deficits are present throughout development despite task demands or severity of linguistic impairment.