New Terminology for Language Impairments – SLI to become DLD

An international group of experts (the CATALISE panel) have recommended using the following terms for children with language difficulties:

  • Language Disorder for language difficulties that significantly affect children’s lives and are unlikely to just go away
  • Developmental Language Disorder for a language disorder that is not associated with conditions such as autism, hearing impairment or Down’s Syndrome
  • SLCN (Speech, Language and Communication Needs) to be used by commissioners and others who plan services as a generic term for the broad range of children needing language support

Linda Lascelles, the CEO of Afasic, who was a member of CATALISE said, ‘We hope that achieving this consensus will raise the profile of language difficulties and lead to more children getting the help they need’.

Susan Ebbels, a specialist speech and language therapist at Moor House School and another member of CATALISE has written a summary of the recommendations. You can read it below and please let us know what you think.

New Terminology for Language Difficulties - November 2016 (754.4 KiB, 4,778 hits)

3 comments on “New Terminology for Language Impairments – SLI to become DLD

  1. The descriptions make a better differentiation between the types of language difficulties but I still think they cross over in part as some children show characteristics from each. Every child is, in my opinion completely unique in complexity and depth of language difficulty, and understanding each characteristic (i.e. behaviour) alongside the language disorder will optimise their chances of successful outcomes in life. Parental awareness of specific help and implementing it are crucial for the chance of the child to progress and fit in with his/her peers and the world around them as they get older.The more precise diagnosis is a good starting point but it’s the help that follows that is the ONLY thing that will make a difference.

    Kind regards


  2. My child was diagnosed with SLI some 4 years ago and was receiving S&L help. He was deemed age appropriate in 2017 and all help has since stopped. As SLI is no longer a ‘ condition,’ we have been told that our son no longer has a diagnosis. Is this correct?

    • Hi Janet,
      This does rather look like an excuse to claim your son’s needs have ‘gone away’, and I wouldn’t have thought it is correct to say he no longer has a diagnosis. Your message does, however, raise a number of issues and if you would like to discuss the situation further, please contact the Afasic Helpline on 0300 666 9410.

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