Journal of Psycholinguistic Research

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 455–474 | Cite as

Oral and Hand Movement Speeds are Associated with Expressive Language Ability in Children with Speech Sound Disorder



This study tested the hypothesis that children with speech sound disorder have generalized slowed motor speeds. It evaluated associations among oral and hand motor speeds and measures of speech (articulation and phonology) and language (receptive vocabulary, sentence comprehension, sentence imitation), in 11 children with moderate to severe SSD and 11 controls. Syllable durations from a syllable repetition task served as an estimate of maximal oral movement speed. In two imitation tasks, nonwords and clapped rhythms, unstressed vowel durations and quarter-note clap intervals served as estimates of oral and hand movement speed, respectively. Syllable durations were significantly correlated with vowel durations and hand clap intervals. Sentence imitation was correlated with all three timed movement measures. Clustering on syllable repetition durations produced three clusters that also differed in sentence imitation scores. Results are consistent with limited movement speeds across motor systems and SSD subtypes defined by motor speeds as a corollary of expressive language abilities.


Speech sound disorder Motor speed Central rate limit Language impairment 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Adams S. G., Weismer G., Kent R. D. (1993) Speaking rate and speech movement velocity profiles. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 36(1): 41–54PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bartzokis, G., Lu, P. H., Tinguis, K., Mendez, M. F., Richard, A., Peters, D. G., et al. (2008). Lifespan trajectory of myelin integrity and maximum motor speed. Neurobiology of Aging. E-publication ahead of print.Google Scholar
  3. Bauman-Waengler J. (2000) Articulatory and phonological impairments: A clinical focus. Allyn and Bacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  4. Bell S. M., McCallum S., Cox E. A. (2003) Toward a research-based assessment of dyslexia: Using cognitive measures to identify reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities 36: 505–516PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bird J., Bishop D. V., Freeman N. H. (1995) Phonological awareness and literacy development in children with expressive phonological impairments. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 38: 446–462PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bishop D. V. M. (2007) Using mismatch negativity to study central auditory processing in developmental language and literacy impairments: Where are we, and where should we be going?. Psychological Bulletin 133(4): 651–672PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bishop D. V., Adams C. (1990) A prospective study of the relationship between specific language impairment, phonological disorders and reading retardation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 31: 1027–1050PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2004). Praat version 4.2.09. Amsterdam: Institute of Phonetic Sciences.Google Scholar
  9. Byrd D., Saltzman E. (2003) The elastic phrase: Modeling the dynamics of boundary-adjacent lengthening. Journal of Phonetics 31: 149–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Campbell T. F., Dollaghan C. A., Rockette H. E., Paradise J. K., Feldman H. M., Shriberg L. D. et al (2003) Risk factors for speech delay of unknown origin in 3-year-old children. Child Development 74(2): 346–457PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Carrow-Woolfolk E. (1999) Test for auditory comprehension of language, 3rd edn. Pro-Ed, AustinGoogle Scholar
  12. Catts H. W. (1993) The relationship between speech-language impairments and reading disabilities. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 36: 948–958PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Catts H. W., Gillispie M., Leonard L. B., Kail R. V., Miller C. A. (2002) The role of speed of processing, rapid naming, and phonological awareness in reading achievement. Journal of Learning Disability 35: 509–524CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Crary M. (1993) Developmental motor speech disorders. Singular Publishing Group, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  15. Dodd B. (1995) Procedures for classification of subgroups of speech disorder. In: Dodd B. (ed) The differential diagnosis and treatment of children with speech disorder. Singular Publishing Group, San Diego, pp 49–64Google Scholar
  16. Dunn L. M., Dunn L. M. (1997) Peabody picture vocabulary test-III. American Guidance Service, Circle PinesGoogle Scholar
  17. Flipsen P. Jr. (2002) Longitudinal changes in articulation rate and phonetic phrase length in children with speech delay. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 45(1): 100–110PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Flipsen P. Jr. (2003) Articulation rate and speech-sound normalization failure. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 46(3): 724–737PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Freeman W. J., Rogers L. J. (2003) A neurobiological theory of meaning in perception Part V: Multicortical patterns of phase modulation in gamma EEG. International Journal of Bifurcation & Chaos 13: 2867–2887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gabrielsson A. (1999) The performance of music. In: Deutsch D. (ed) The psychology of music, 2nd edn. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 501–602CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Goldman R., Fristoe M. (2000) Goldman-fristoe test of articulation, 2nd edn. American Guidance Service, Circle PinesGoogle Scholar
  22. Jaencke L., Siegenthaler T., Preis S., Steinmetz H. (2007) Decreased white-matter density in a left-sided fronto-temporal network in children with developmental language disorder: evidence for anatomical anomalies in a motor-language network. Brain and Language 102(1): 91–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Keenan J. M., Betjemann R. S., Wadsworth S. J., DeFries J. C., Olson R. K. (2006) Genetic and environmental influences on reading and listening comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading 29: 75–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Khan L., Lewis N. (2002) Khan-Lewis phonological analysis, 2nd edn. American Guidance Service, Circle PinesGoogle Scholar
  25. Koike K. J., Asp C. W. (1981) Tennessee test of rhythm and intonation patterns. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders 46: 81–86PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Lahey M., Edwards M., Munson B. (2001) Is processing speed related to language impairment severity?. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 44(6): 1354–1361PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Larrivee L. S., Catts H. W. (1999) Early reading achievement in children with expressive phonological disorders. American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 8: 118–128Google Scholar
  28. Leitao S., Fletcher J. (2004) Literacy outcomes for students with speech impairment: Long-term follow-up. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 39: 245–256PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Leonard L.B. (1998) Children with specific language impairment. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  30. Lewis B. A., Freebairn L. A. (1992) Residual effects of preschool phonology disorders in grade school, adolescence, and adulthood. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 35: 819–831PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Lewis B. A., Freebairn L. A., Hansen A. J., Miscimarra L., Iyengar S. K., Taylor H. G. (2007) Speech and language skills of parents of children with speech sound disorders. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 16(2): 108–118PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lewis B. A., Shriberg L. D., Freebairn L. A., Hanson A. J., Stein C. M., Taylor H. G. et al (2006) The genetic bases of speech sound disorders: Evidence from spoken and written language. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 49: 1294–1312Google Scholar
  33. Low E. L., Grabe E., Nolan F. (2000) Quantitative characterizations of speech rhythm: Syllable-timing in Singapore English. Language and Speech 43: 377–401CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lyon G. R., Shaywitz S., Shaywitz B. (2003) A definition of dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia 53: 1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. McKinnon D. H., McLeod S., Reilly S. (2007) The prevalence of stuttering, voice, and speech-sound disorders in primary school students in Australia. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 38: 5–15PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Owen S. E., McKinlay I. A. (1997) Motor difficulties in children with developmental disorders of speech and language. Child: Care, Health and Development 23(4): 315–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Pennington B. F., Bishop D. V. M. (2009) Relations among speech, language, and reading disorders. Annual Review of Psychology 60: 283–306PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Peter B., Stoel-Gammon C. (2005) Timing errors in two children with suspected childhood apraxia of speech (sCAS) during speech and music-related tasks. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 19(2): 67–87CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Peter B., Stoel-Gammon C. (2008) Central timing deficits in subtypes of primary speech disorders. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 22(3): 171–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Peterson R. L., McGrath L. M., Smith S. D., Pennington B. F. (2007) Neuropsychology and genetics of speech, language, and literacy disorders. Pediatric Clinics in North America 54: 543–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Posthuma D., Baare W. F. C., Hulshoff H. D., Kahn R. S., Boomsma D. I., De Geus E. J. C. (2003) Genetic correlations between brain volumes and the WAIS-III dimensions of verbal comprehension, working memory, perceptual organization, and processing speed. Twin Research 6: 131–139PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Powell R. P., Bishop D. V. (1992) Clumsiness and perceptual problems in children with specific language impairment. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 34(9): 755–765PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Ramus F., Nespor M., Mehler J. (2000) Correlates of linguistic rhythm in the speech signal. Cognition 14(75(1)): AD3–AD30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Rey V., DeMartino S., Espesser R., Habib M. (2002) Temporal processing and phonological impairment in dyslexia: effect of phoneme lengthening on order judgment of two consonants. Brain and Language 80(3): 576–591PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Richards T., Stevenson J., Crouch J., Johnson L. C., Maravilla K., Stock P. et al (2008) Tract-based spatial statistics of diffusion tensor imaging in adults with dyslexia. American Journal of Neuroradiology 29(6): 1134–1139PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Robbins J., Klee T. (1987) Clinical assessment of oropharyngeal motor development in young children. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders 52: 271–277PubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. Schul R., Stiles J., Wulfeck B., Townsend J. (2004) How ‘generalized’ is the ‘slowed processing’ in SLI? The case of visuospatial attential orienting. Neuropsychologia 42(5): 661–671PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schulte-Körne G., Ziegler A., Deimel W., Schulacher J., Plume E., Bachmann C. et al (2006) Interrelationship and familiality of dyslexia related quantitative measures. Annals of Human Genetics 71: 160–175PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Semel E., Wiig E. H., Secord W. A. (2003) Clinical evaluation of language fundamentals, 4th edn. The Psychological Corporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar
  50. Shriberg L. D., Lewis B. L., Tomblin J. B., McSweeny J. L., Karlsson H. B., Scheer A. R. (2005) Toward diagnostic and phenotype markers for genetically transmitted speech delay. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 48(4): 834–852PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Shriberg L. D., Tomblin J. B., McSweeny J. L. (1999) Prevalence of speech delay in 6-year-old children and comorbidity with language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 42(6): 1461–1481PubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Smith A., Goffman L., Zelaznik H. N., Ying G., McGillem C. (1995) Spatiotemporal stability and patterning of speech movement sequences. Experimental Brain Research 104: 493–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Smith A., Lambrecht Smith S., Locke J. L., Bennett J. (2008) A longitudinal study of speech timing in young children later found to have reading disability. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 51(5): 1300–1314PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Snowling M. J., Bishop D. V. M., Stothard S. E. (2000) Is preschool language impairment a risk factor for dyslexia in adolescence?. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 41: 587–600PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stein C. M., Millard C., Kluge A., Miscimarra L. E., Cartier K. C., Freebairn L. A. et al (2006) Speech sound disorder influenced by a locus in 15q14 region. Behavioral Genetics 36(6): 858–868CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Stein C. M., Schick J. H., Taylor H., Shriberg L. D., Millard C., Kundtz-Kluge A. et al (2006) Pleiotropic effects of a chromosome 3 locus on speech-sound disorder and reading. American Journal of Human Genetics 74(2): 283–297CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Walker J. F., Archibald L. M. (2006) Articulation rate in preschool children: A 3-year longitudinal study. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 41(5): 541–565PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Weismer G. (2006) Philosophy of research in motor speech disorders. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 20(5): 315–349CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Weiss S., Mueller H. M. (2003) The contribution of EEG coherence to the investigation of language. Brian and Language 85: 325–343CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Wertzner H. F., Silva L. M. (2009) Speech rate in children with and without phonological disorder. Pró-Fono Revista de Atualização Científica 21(1): 19–24PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Wiig E. H., Secord W., Semel E. (1992) Clinical evaluation of language fundamentals—preschool. The Psychological Corporation, San AntonioGoogle Scholar
  62. Windsor J., Hwang M. (1999) Testing the generalized slowing hypothesis in specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 42(5): 1205–1218PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Zelaznik H. N., Goffman L. (2010) Generalized motor abilities and timing behavior in children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 53(2): 383–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ziegler W. (2003) Psycholinguistic and motor theories of apraxia of speech. Seminars in Speech and Language 23(4): 231–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Speech and Hearing SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations