Study of working memory intervention in children with delay in vocabulary development: Effects on working memory and language ability

Shinyoung Kim, Dongsun Yim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objectives: Studies have carried out the base of the processing mechanism regarding language problems of children with language impairments, focusing on working memory. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of intervention aimed at activating working memory in children with delay in vocabulary development (VD) and the subsequent effect on working memory and language ability. Methods: A total of 12 children (6 children with VD and 6 typically developing children [TD] matched by chronological age) age 5-7 were assessed through working memory tasks. Pre-post design was used to compare differences among working memory tasks (nonword repetition, Competing Language Processing Task [CLPT], and matrix) and language tasks (Receptive & Expressive Vocabulary Test [REVT], Korean-Token Test for Children [K-TTFC], sentence repetition, and grammaticality judgment) in the VD group. Children with VD were provided with intensive intervention sessions 3 times a week for 5 weeks. Results: The research found that the VD group showed lower performance than the TD group in working memory tasks. After intervention for activating working memory, the children with VD showed improvement in one of the working memory tasks (CLPT-word recall) and several language tasks (REVT, K-TTFC, sentence repetition, reaction time for grammaticality judgment). Conclusion: Working memory intervention resulted in increased working memory capacity, improved vocabulary (REVT), auditory comprehension of language and attention (K-TTFC), and syntactic ability (sentence repetition, and grammaticality judgment). Therefore, intervention for working memory has a positive effect on not only working memory capacity but language ability as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-489
Number of pages21
JournalCommunication Sciences and Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Korean Academy of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.


  • Delay in vocabulary development
  • Language ability
  • Language impairment
  • Working memory
  • Working memory intervention


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