Date of Completion

Spring 4-30-2021

Thesis Advisor(s)

Bernard Grela

Honors Major

Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences


This pilot study aimed to examine nonlinguistic deficits associated with visual spatial memory in young children. A child with DLD was compared to both younger-aged (YATD) and same-aged (SATD) typically developing peers for performance on a visual spatial memory matching game. It was hypothesized that if children with DLD have deficits in nonlinguistic domains, they should not perform as well as their same-aged peers. Since children with DLD are similar in language to their younger typically developing children, their performance was compared to a group of typically developing children at least one year younger. If children with DLD performed less well than same-aged children, we were curious to see if they would be similar to the younger children. A total of 6 children (ages 3;2 to 4;9) were recruited from the Storrs, Connecticut area. The children were placed into one of three groups (DLD, YATD, or SATD) based on their age and performance on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals - Preschool (CELF-P). One child was identified with DLD (age 4;8), three children served as SATD controls (ages 4;0-4;9), and two children served as YATD controls (ages 3;2-3;5). Each child played the iPad game, Animal Matching 4 Kid - Memory Game for Preschool, ten times. Performance was measured by the score obtained at the end of each trial of the game and then averaged over the 10 trials for each group. Results revealed that the SATD group obtained the highest average score (m=89.9), followed by the YATD group (m=79.6), and lastly the child with DLD (m=66.1). The trend demonstrated age and language ability as contributing factors to the children’s scores. These findings imply that visual spatial memory may be problematic for children with DLD. Further research must be conducted, but these findings hold strong implications for clinical practice and a potential link between DLD and visual spatial working memory.