SLI

  • About Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
  • Symptoms of SLI
  • What causes SLI?
  • How common is SLI?
  • What are the needs of children with SLI?
  • What is the remedial therapy approach for children with SLI at Lexicon Reading Center?

SLI is a difficulty with language-based communication that is not explained by other developmental disorders such as severe developmental delay or autism.
Children with SLI are no different from other people except for their difficulty in expressing and understanding language (i.e. listening comprehension).
Children with SLI experience many frustrations and maybe develop behaviour difficulties. They often are misdiagnosed as having an attention disorder. Very often children with SLI also find it tough learning to read and spell.

SLI symptoms vary greatly. Children with SLI may:

  • find it difficult to express their ideas
  • may talk in sentences but the sentences may not make sense
  • appear muddled, understanding what they mean may be difficult
  • have difficulties with understanding longer words and instructions
  • have difficulty finding the right word
  • find it hard to follow instruction
  • have reading and/or spelling
  • have reading comprehension problems

There is no obvious single cause of SLI. The outstanding feature is that the speech and language part of the brain does not develop the same way as in typical children, even though no physical abnormalities can be discerned. Functional MRI does, however, indicate that the brain of children with SLI processes languages differently. Genetic predisposition also often plays an important part in SLI. SLI cannot be diagnosed through medical tests, systematic observation and language -related tests form the basis of a diagnosis of SLI.

Studies have shown that in 5 year olds, SLI affects about 7% of every classroom. It is more common in boys than girls.

Typical children learn language simply by being spoken to and encouraged to answer. Children with SLI need language to be taught explicitly, one concept at the time in a systematic sequential order. Children with SLI are likely to need support throughout their schooling. The particular difficulties children experience change developmentally. For example, an older child with SLI may get better at understanding others but still maybe have difficulties finding the right words and expressing themselves.

Each child with language difficulties has a unique profile. The first step after the diagnosis is the collection of comprehensive individual language samples that reveals particular areas of need. It is important that background information, such as a bilingualism and/ or limited English language skills are also considered.

The goal of the remediation is to encourage general language development and teach specific skills in context to help children to communicate and access academic knowledge. Individual goals are selected according to the child’s developmental level and specific areas of need.
The intervention aims to
teach strategies for facilitating communication rather than isolated skills
adapt and modify the intervention through continuous assessment
individualise is the intervention according to the child’s specific language profileEach child with language difficulties has a unique profile. The first step after the diagnosis is the collection of comprehensive individual language samples that reveals particular areas of need. It is important that background information, such as a bilingualism and/ or limited English language skills are also considered.

The goal of the remediation is to encourage general language development and teach specific skills in context to help children to communicate and access academic knowledge. Individual goals are selected according to the child’s developmental level and specific areas of need.
The intervention aims to
teach strategies for facilitating communication rather than isolated skills
adapt and modify the intervention through continuous assessment
individualise is the intervention according to the child’s specific language profile