Contact Information

CSD 293E-7 Cognitive and Linguistic Foundations of Language Development and Disorders (06445)

CSD 293E.7 Cognitive and Linguistic Foundations of Language Development and Disorders (06445)

Instructor: Li Sheng, Ph.D.
Office Hours: Thursdays, 1-3pm or by appointment (
Office: CMA 7.210, LAC 2.420
Phone: 471-4060

Class Meetings: Tuesdays, 12:30 – 2:30pm, in CMA2.134


This course presents a framework for understanding the cognitive and linguistic mechanisms that underlie language development and language disorders.  Topics will include linguistic and psycholinguistic theories of language development, research on information processing functions (e.g., attention, memory, perception) and implications of this research for thinking about language development and language disorders in children.

To successfully complete this course, students must meet the following KASA standards:

1.        Standard III-B. The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of basic human communication processes, including their psychological, developmental, linguistic and cultural bases.

2.        Standard III-C. The applicant must demonstrate knowledge of the nature of speech, language, hearing, and communication disorders and differences, including their etiologies, characteristics, anatomical/physiological, acoustic, psychological, developmental, and linguistic and cultural correlates. Specific knowledge must be demonstrated in the following areas:

a.       Etiologies and characteristics of receptive and expressive language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics) in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and manual modalities

b.       Etiologies and characteristics of cognitive aspects of communication (attention, memory, sequencing, problem-solving, executive functioning)

3.        The ability to use published research results to inform assessment and intervention decisions and practices.


The following schedule is tentative. I reserve the right to change topics, readings, or assignments when necessary. Readings will be posted on Blackboard.

1. January 17: Introduction.

2. January 24: Information Processing (*Quiz 1)

Bjorklund, D. F., (2005). Information processing approaches. In D. F. Bjorklund, Children’s thinking: Cognitive development and individual differences, (pp. 118-150). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Gillam, R. B., & Hoffman, L. M. (2004). Information processing in children with Specific Language Impairment. In L. Verhoeven, & H. van Balkom (Eds.), Classification of Developmental Language Disorders: Theoretical Issues and Clinical Implications (pp. 137-157). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

3. January 31: Attention (*Quiz 2)

Barkley, R. (1998). Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Scientific American, 179, 44-49.

Oram Cardy, J. E., Tannock, R., Johnson, A. M., & Johnson, C. J. (2010). The contribution of processing impairments to SLI: Insights from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Journal of Communication Disorders, 43, 77-91.

4. February 7: Theory of Mind in Children with Hearing Impairment (Guest speaker: Wolfgang Mann) (*Quiz 3)

Peterson, C.C., & Siegal, M. (2000). Insights into theory of mind from deafness and autism. Mind & Language, 15, 123–145.

Taumoepeau, M. & Ruffman, T. (2006). Mother and infant talk about mental state relates to desire language and emotion understanding. Child Development, 77, 465-481.

5. February 14: Perception (Auditory Processing Disorders) (*Homework on FastForWord due)

Johnston, J. (2006). Auditory perception and language disorder. In J. Johnston, Thinking about child language: Research to practice (pp. 73-95). Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications.

Gillam, R. B., Loeb, D. F., Hoffman, L. M., Bohman, T., Champlin, C. A., Thibodeau, L., et al., (2008). The efficacy of Fast ForWord language intervention in school-age children with language impairment: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing