“Sentence repetition with bilinguals with and without DLD: Differential effects of memory, vocabulary, and exposure”
Peña is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. In the UCI School of Education, she serves as Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity and directs the Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition (HABLA) Lab. Peña's research interests include bilingualism, language impairment, and test development and treatment.
Though previous research has shown that sentence repetition (SR) is an informative tool for identifying developmental language disorder (DLD) in bilinguals, little is understood about the skills that underlie children's performance on the task. With a population of 136 school-age Spanish–English bilinguals, the present study explores the contribution of verbal short-term memory, vocabulary, and language exposure on two SR tasks developed in English and Spanish. Results indicate that these skills may differentially underlie SR in typical versus disordered populations. Whereas the strongest predictors of English SR performance for typical bilingual children were expressive vocabulary and language exposure, bilingual children with DLD relied most heavily on verbal short-term memory. ROC curves to determine the classification accuracy of SR were conducted. Classification accuracy was excellent, with area under the curve reaching .92 for the English SR task and .87 for Spanish SR.