Research into the basis of developmental language learning impairments has centered on two main approaches. The first focuses on investigating in more detail the pattern of receptive and/or expressive linguistic abilities of these children (the psycholinguistic approach). The second focuses on investigating the neural substrates of those perceptual, motor, and cognitive mechanisms that are presumed to be prerequisite for normal language development (the cognitive neuroscience approach). In general, these two research approaches have developed separately. That is, only a few studies of children with LLI have attempted to relate the concurrent pattern of linguistic abilities of a particular child to the child's sensory, perceptual, motor, and cognitive abilities, or the neural substrates of these abilities. Similarly, until recently few studies have used a prospective, longitudinal design to determine the relationship between various nonlinguistic and linguistic developmental trajectories in normal children as well as children at risk for language learning impairments.

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