Knowledge of Mathematical Equivalence in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Insights From Gesture and Speech Purpose This study investigated understanding of mathematical equivalence in children with and without specific language impairment (SLI). Method A total of 34 children (ages 8;1 [years;months] to 11;7), including 9 with expressive SLI (E-SLI), 8 with expressive and receptive SLI (ER-SLI), and 17 age-matched typically developing (TD) children ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2011
Knowledge of Mathematical Equivalence in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Insights From Gesture and Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Elina Mainela-Arnold
    The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
  • Martha W. Alibali
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Kristin Ryan
    University of Wisconsin–Madison
  • Julia L. Evans
    San Diego State University, San Diego, CA and University of California, San Diego
  • Contact author: Elina Mainela-Arnold, Pennsylvania State University, Communication Sciences and Disorders, 105 Moore Building, University Park, PA 16802. E-mail: ezm3@psu.edu.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2011
Knowledge of Mathematical Equivalence in Children With Specific Language Impairment: Insights From Gesture and Speech
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 18-30. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/09-0070)
History: Received September 26, 2009 , Revised April 6, 2010 , Accepted July 1, 2010
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2011, Vol. 42, 18-30. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/09-0070)
History: Received September 26, 2009; Revised April 6, 2010; Accepted July 1, 2010
Web of Science® Times Cited: 3

Purpose This study investigated understanding of mathematical equivalence in children with and without specific language impairment (SLI).

Method A total of 34 children (ages 8;1 [years;months] to 11;7), including 9 with expressive SLI (E-SLI), 8 with expressive and receptive SLI (ER-SLI), and 17 age-matched typically developing (TD) children completed addition and mathematical equivalence problems. The problem-solving strategies revealed in solutions and in gestural and verbal explanations were coded.

Results The children with SLI were less accurate than their TD peers in solving addition and equivalence problems. None of the children in the ER-SLI group solved the equivalence problems correctly; however, the number of children who solved any of the equivalence problems correctly did not differ in the E-SLI and CA groups. Children in the ER-SLI group tended to express incorrect strategies for solving the equivalence problems in both gesture and speech, whereas children in the E-SLI group often expressed correct strategies in gestures, but incorrect strategies in speech.

Conclusion Children with SLI showed delays in their knowledge of mathematical equivalence. Children with ER-SLI displayed greater delays than children with E-SLI. Children with E-SLI sometimes expressed more advanced knowledge in gestures, suggesting that their knowledge is represented in a nonverbal format.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by a grant from the Spencer Foundation (S133-DK59, Julia Evans and Martha Alibali, co-principal investigators). We are most grateful to the parents and children who participated in the study.
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