Specific Language Impairment or SLI is a persistent type speech, language and communication need that cannot be explained by an obvious cause.

SLI is not the only label that is used by professionals to describe unexplained difficulties with talking and understanding such as speech and language disorder and language learning impairment. This can be confusing for parents.

SLI may be identified in children when their development of talking:

  • falls behind that of other children of the same age
  • interferes with everyday life and school achievement
  • is not due to hearing loss, physical abnormality, acquired brain damage, or lack of language experience
  • is not part of a general delay of development that affects all other skills.

Help and information

Talk to our experienced Helpline team if you need any advice.
Get in touch >>

You may notice that your child doesn’t say very much, his/her talking seems immature, he/she may struggle to find the right words, and doesn’t seem to understand what is said.

Difficulties with talking are not always easy to spot and may be hidden behind difficulties with paying attention, following instructions or getting on with others.

If your child has persisting difficulties with talking, it is important that a qualified speech and language therapist can assess your child’s speech, language and communication.

Useful videos (courtesy of the RALLI Campaign)