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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Executive functions (EFs) comprise an array of higher order cognitive skills which are important for the development of self-control and effective participation in home and school environments. Research has begun to identify executive function deficits in children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and in children who are at-risk for language impairment. The purpose of this study was to investigate differences in executive functioning skills of children with SLI, children demonstrating at-risk language, and children with typical language, based on teacher ratings of the Behavioral Rating inventory of Executive Function- Preschool (BRIEF-P). The relationships between executive functions and language skills were also assessed. Participants included 30 preschool children in three groups, typical (TL), language impaired (LI), and at-risk (AtR), based on subjects' language scores from the CELF-P, PPVT, and Renfrew Bus Story. An analysis of variance revealed significant differences between TL group and LI and AtR groups on Inhibition, Working Memory, and Plan/Organize. Significant differences were found between the TL and LI groups but not the AtR group on Emotional Control and Shift. Significant relationships were found between receptive and expressive language tasks, narrative content and components of EFs, but no significant relationships were found between language and sentence length. Trainor (2012) found similar differences in relationships in parent ratings of executive function skills of preschool children. Clinical implications suggest that language and narratives require not only semantics and syntax but also executive functions. Speech-language pathologists may consider the evaluation of executive functions in their overall diagnostic plan.