Purpose This study examined the influences of bilingualism and developmental language disorder (DLD) on nonverbal processing speed. DLD is associated with slower processing speed, but the extent to which slowing extends to bilingual populations is not established. The possible presence of bilingual cognitive effects could also lead to faster processing speed among bilingual children. Method Participants included 108 children of ages 6-8 years, including 56 Spanish-English bilinguals (29 with DLD and 27 with typical development) and 52 English-only monolinguals (25 with DLD and 27 with typical development). Language testing (in both languages for bilingual children) was combined with parent and school report to classify children as having DLD or typical language development. Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder were excluded from the sample. Reaction time from a choice visual detection task was used to index nonverbal processing speed. Results Children with DLD demonstrated slower processing speed than their typically developing peers, whereas bilingual children demonstrated faster processing speed than monolinguals. The effects of DLD and bilingualism did not interact. Conclusions This study replicates prior findings of slowed processing speed among children with DLD in both monolingual and bilingual children. Evidence of faster processing speed among bilingual children contributes to the complex literature surrounding the circumstances of bilingual cognitive effects. Supplemental Material https://doi.org/10.23641/asha.15138747.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Data collection for this study was supported by NIH R03 DC013760 awarded to K. Ebert. The author thanks the original study staff as well as the participants and their families.
© 2021 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural