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Effect of Preschool Working Memory, Language, and Narrative Abilities on Inferential Comprehension at School-Age in Children with Spina Bifida Myelomeningocele and Typically Developing Children

  • Meredith Pike (a1), Paul Swank (a2), Heather Taylor (a2), Susan Landry (a2) and Marcia A. Barnes (a2)...


Children with spina bifida myelomeningocele (SBM) are more likely to display a pattern of good-decoding/poor comprehension than their neurologically intact peers. The goals of the current study were to (1) examine the cognitive origins of one of the component skills of comprehension, bridging inferences, from a developmental perspective and (2) to test the effects of those relations on reading comprehension achievement. Data from a sample of children with SBM and a control group (n = 78) who participated in a longitudinal study were taken from age 36-month and 9.5-year time points. A multiple mediation model provided evidence that three preschool cognitive abilities (working memory/inhibitory control, oral comprehension, narrative recall), could partially explain the relation between group and bridging inference skill. A second mediation model supported that each of the 36-month abilities had an indirect effect on reading comprehension through bridging inference skill. Findings contribute to an understanding of both typical and atypical comprehension development, blending theories from the developmental, cognitive, and neuropsychological literature. (JINS, 2013, 19, 1–10)


Corresponding author

Correspondence and reprint requests to: Marcia A. Barnes, The University of Texas Medical School at Houston, Department of Pediatrics, 7000 Fannin, Suite 2431, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail:


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