IJLCD discussion board

The IJLCD special issue on Specific Language Impairment (SLI) raises many important issues about the diagnosis of children with unexplained language problems. Two lead articles, twenty commentaries from a range of experts (academics, SLTs, educational psychologists, SEN lawyers and charity representatives) and a response article discuss the diagnostic criteria and terminology for SLI.

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Please note the web address for the SLI Debate Discussion forum has changed to http://rcsltalk.forums.net. Please continue to visit the site and contribute to the SLI conversation by clicking any of the links above or RCSLTalk in the left hand corner of the RCSLT homepage.

Over the forthcoming months ‘RCSLTalk’ will host discussions on an array of subjects concerning speech and language therapy.  


The key articles for discussion within this issue are:


Bishop D  (2014)  “Ten questions about terminology for children with unexplained language problems” and commentaries.
Reilly S et al (2014) “Specific language impairment: a convenient label for whom?”  and commentaries.
Reilly S, Bishop D, Tomblin B (2014) “Terminological debate over language impairment in children: forward movement and sticking points."

These articles highlighted a number of concerns that urgently need to be addressed. All of those writing in the special issue agreed that inconsistent and unclear terminology was creating major problems: it hindered communication, created obstacles for children requiring access to services and held back research progress.

In the articles and commentaries it was agreed that change was needed. However, it was evident that there was no simple solution. There were pros and cons for different terminology and no perfect solution for all situations.

The authors felt that a move is needed towards a better consensus.  For this to happen it is important to sample a wide range of opinions from practitioners (SALT, medical, psychological and educational), researchers, legal advisors and people affected by language difficulties and their families. 

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