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Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2008 Mar-Apr;43(2):165-80.

Comparing language profiles: children with specific language impairment and developmental coordination disorder.

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  • 1University of Western Ontario, London, Canada



Although it is widely recognized that substantial heterogeneity exists in the cognitive profiles of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), very little is known about the language skills of this group.


To compare the language abilities of children with DCD with a group whose language impairment has been well described: children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI).


Eleven children with DCD and 11 with SLI completed standardized and non-standardized assessments of vocabulary, grammatical skill, non-word repetition, sentence recall, story retelling, and articulation rate. Performance on the non-standardized measures was compared with a group of typically developing children of the same age.


Children with DCD were impaired on tasks involving verbal recall and story retelling. Almost half of those in the DCD group performed similarly to the children with SLI over several expressive language measures, while 18% had deficits in non-word repetition and story retelling only. Poor non-word repetition was observed for both the DCD and the SLI groups. The articulation rate of the children with SLI was slower than that of the DCD group, which was slower than that of typically developing children.


Language impairment is a common co-occurring condition in DCD. The language profile of children with either DCD or SLI was similar in the majority of, but not all, cases.

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