Language and working memory intervention in school age children

Institution: University of Western Ontario

Investigator(s): Dr. Lisa Archibald

Program: Cogmed RM

Background & Aim: Developmental language disorders are among the most common forms of childhood developmental pathology, estimated to occur in about 7% of kindergarten children. For most of these children, language difficulties will persist throughout school and even into adulthood. Often, these children are identified with language-based learning difficulties in later school years resulting in impairments in academic learning especially reading and writing. Low working memory (WM) is thought to occur in about 10% of school age children and can negatively impact school learning. Unfortunately, the WM and language disorders research fields have developed largely independently of each other. Research has revealed that some children have a language-based impairment only, others have both language and WM deficits, and still other children’s impairments are specific to WM. The aim of the current work is to evaluate the nature of a child’s primary developmental deficit in language and/or WM, the associated learning profiles, and results of specifically targeted treatment. Researchers will examine the academic and social consequences of language and/or WM impairments in school age children, evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive remediation targeted to the child’s verified deficits (i.e., providing language treatment for children with language impairment or WM intervention for children with WM impairment) and assess the impact of treatment building on a child’s strengths in language or WM as a way of maximizing the use of alternate strategies to enhance otherwise poor functioning.

Population & Sample Size: N = 32 children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) or Specific Working Memory Impairment (SWMI) or Language and Working Memory Impairment (L&WMI), ages 7 -10 years

Design: Single-subject, n-of-1, Test-retest, 6 month follow-up