Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders


Document Type


Date of this Version



Frontiers in Psychology, August 2014 | Volume 5 | Article 838

doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00838


Copyright © 2014 Farquharson, Centanni, Franzluebbers and Hogan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).


Children with dyslexia and/or specific language impairment have marked deficits in phonological processing, putting them at an increased risk for reading deficits. The current study sought to examine the influence of word-level phonological and lexical characteristics on phonological awareness. Children with dyslexia and/or specific language impairment were tested using a phoneme deletion task in which stimuli differed orthogonally by sound similarity and neighborhood density. Phonological and lexical factors influenced performance differently across groups. Children with dyslexia appeared to have a more immature and aberrant pattern of phonological and lexical influence (e.g., favoring sparse and similar features). Children with SLI performed less well than children who were typically developing, but followed a similar pattern of performance (e.g., favoring dense and dissimilar features). Collectively, our results point to both quantitative and qualitative differences in lexical organization and phonological representations in children with SLI and in children with dyslexia.