Children with specific language impairment are not impaired in the acquisition and retention of Pavlovian delay and trace conditioning of the eyeblink response.
Hardiman MJ., Hsu HJ., Bishop DV.
Three converging lines of evidence have suggested that cerebellar abnormality is implicated in developmental language and literacy problems. First, some brain imaging studies have linked abnormalities in cerebellar grey matter to dyslexia and specific language impairment (SLI). Second, theoretical accounts of both dyslexia and SLI have postulated impairments of procedural learning and automatisation of skills, functions that are known to be mediated by the cerebellum. Third, motor learning has been shown to be abnormal in some studies of both disorders. We assessed the integrity of face related regions of the cerebellum using Pavlovian eyeblink conditioning in 7-11year-old children with SLI. We found no relationship between oral language skills or literacy skills with either delay or trace conditioning in the children. We conclude that this elementary form of associative learning is intact in children with impaired language or literacy development.