Scales StudyNew research confirms the high prevalence of language impairments among children starting school.

The Surrey Communication and Language in Education Study (SCALES), which carried out language screening in the reception classes of just over half the schools in Surrey found that relatively low NVIQ, which has traditionally been used to exclude a diagnosis of language impairment, is not associated with more severe difficulties either with language itself or learning or behaviour, unless associated with another diagnosed condition, such as autism. If children with a NVIQ between 70 and 85 are not excluded from a language impairment diagnosis, the number affected rises from 4.8% to 7.58%. That’s an average of two children in every classroom.

These research findings are published today, Tuesday May 17 2016, in The Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry in an article entitled The impact of non-verbal ability on prevalence and clinical presentation of Language Disorder: evidence from a population study written by Professor Courtenay Norbury of University College London together with other members of the SCALES team. For more information about the SCALES project, see their website.

Linda Lascelles, CEO of Afasic, commented: ‘These new findings provide valuable evidence that Bruce Tomblin’s research in America twenty years ago also applies to the UK. What we need to know now is how education and health services plan to respond to the high numbers of children with language impairments’.

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