Objective: To study face and emotion recognition in children with mostly expressive specific language impairment (SLI-E). Subjects and Methods: A test movie to study perception and recognition of faces and mimic-gestural expression was applied to 24 children diagnosed as suffering from SLI-E and an age-matched control group of normally developing children. Results: Compared to a normal control group, the SLI-E children scored significantly worse in both the face and expression recognition tasks with a preponderant effect on emotion recognition. The performance of the SLI-E group could not be explained by reduced attention during the test session. Conclusion: We conclude that SLI-E is associated with a deficiency in decoding non-verbal emotional facial and gestural information, which might lead to profound and persistent problems in social interaction and development.

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