Non-word repetition in Dutch children with (a risk of) dyslexia and SLI

Elise de Bree*, Judith Rispens, Ellen Gerrits

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It has been proposed that poor non-word repetition is a marker of specific language impairment (SLI), and a precursor and marker of dyslexia. This study investigated whether a non-word repetition deficit underlies both disorders. A group of Dutch preschool SLI children and children at familial risk of dyslexia, as well as school-going groups of SLI and dyslexic children were presented with a non-word repetition task. The results showed that the SLI and the (at-risk of) dyslexia groups performed more poorly than the control children. Furthermore, with the exception of one child, all preschool SLI children scored significantly below the mean of the preschool control group, suggesting that non-word repetition performance is a marker of SLI. Approximately half of the at-risk group were poor performers, which was expected on the basis of the familial risk factor of the at-risk group. The results show that a non-word repetition deficit is attested early in life and underlies both dyslexia and SLI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-944
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Linguistics and Phonetics
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • At-risk studies
  • Dyslexia
  • Non-word repetition
  • Phonological processing
  • Specific language impairment


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