Wiig, E.H., Zureich, P., & Chan, H-N.H. (2000). A clinical rationale for assessing rapid automatized naming children with language disorders.
Word finding difficulties characterize many children with language difficulties. One challenge in assessing these difficulties is determining whether the difficulty is related to poor word knowledge or difficulty retrieving known word knowledge. This study examines the utility of rapid automatized naming (RAN) to distinguish these difficulties.
RAN tasks involve the rapid retrieval of known words. The items to be named are typically familiar words so the focus of the task is on retrieval. A task may involve the naming of items from a single domain (e.g., letters, colours), or more than one domain (e.g., alternating letters and numbers; naming colour and shape). The integration of more than one feature requires accessing and inhibiting responses, and reflects interference effects. Greater interference effects may indicate greater difficulty in successfully retrieving words.
RAN difficulties for letters, numbers, and alternating letters and numbers have been demonstrated for children with dyslexia (e.g., Wolf, 1991, Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 123-141). Wolf has proposed a double deficit hypothesis (see our blogpost for October 31, 2010) suggesting that phonological processing and naming speed deficits constitute two core and separable deficits in dyslexia.
The present study employed the RAN tasks of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-3 (Semel et al., 1995) involving rapid naming of (1) colours, (2) shapes, and (3) colours and shapes to compare groups of children with language impairment and typical development. The groups were reliably distinguished on the 3rd task requiring the rapid naming of both shape and colour only.
The authors suggest that the RAN tasks may identify whether a naming-speed deficit and interference with fluency in language production is problematic. Slower naming on all 3 tasks may suggest pervasive slowing in language production while slower naming on the 3rd task only may reflect slower naming speed and interference impairments that effect fluency in language production. Normative data for the RAN tasks are provided in the paper.
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