What are Speech and Language Impairments (SLI)
Some children find it hard to talk and understand what other people say. The term used to describe this is speech and language impairment.
Professor Dorothy Bishop discusses what is known about the causes of language impairment, and why scientists think genes are important. (Videos courtesy of the RALLI campaign.)
Speech and language impairments can be caused by conditions such as hearing impairment, Down’s syndrome, cerebral palsy or autism, but not always. Where there is no obvious cause, the term specific speech or language impairment is often used. It is possible, though, to have a specific speech and language impairment in combination with another disability.
Most children with specific speech or language impairments are of normal intelligence, but may have other specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, dyspraxia or ADHD.
About 6% of children have a specific speech or language impairment and at least 1 child in 500 has a severe, long-term difficulty.
Articles of interest
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists’ April Bulletin featured a couple of articles about SLI which may be of interest.
RCSLT Bulletin article - Where are the boundaries? (336.6 KB, 81 hits)
RCSLT Bulletin article - SLI: the invisible neuro-developmental disorder (115.1 KB, 108 hits)
For more information, see suggested reading.