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Cortex. 2009 Jan;45(1):119-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2007.09.008. Epub 2008 Oct 31.

Rhythmic motor entrainment in children with speech and language impairments: tapping to the beat.

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Centre for Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 8PQ, UK.


In prior work (Corriveau et al., 2007), we showed that children with speech and language impairments (SLI) were significantly less sensitive than controls to two auditory cues to rhythmic timing, amplitude envelope rise time and duration. Here we explore whether rhythmic problems extend to rhythmic motor entrainment. Tapping in synchrony with a beat has been described as the simplest rhythmic act that humans perform. We explored whether tapping to a beat would be impaired in children for whom auditory rhythmic timing is impaired. Children with SLI were indeed found to be impaired in a range of measures of paced rhythmic tapping, but were not equally impaired in tapping in an unpaced control condition requiring an internally-generated rhythm. The severity of impairment in paced tapping was linked to language and literacy outcomes.

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