Specific Language Impairment is the name used to describe the difficulties that some children have with learning and using language. Language impairment is described as specific when these difficulties aren’t associated with other factors or conditions, such as general learning difficulties, cerebral palsy or autistic spectrum disorders. Children with other associated conditions are said to have Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN).
What does having a Specific Language Impairment mean for my child?
Those with Specific Language Impairment are often just as clever as other children their age, but still have particular difficulties with learning to understand and to use speech and language, hence the word ‘specific’. It means that whilst a child with specific language impairment might be particularly bright, they may still struggle to understand the language used in their day-to-day lives. A child with specific language impairment might have lots of ideas but struggle to put into words what they are thinking. This can then have a significant effect on the child’s ability to communicate and to learn in the classroom.
What causes a Specific Language Impairment?
Often there’s no obvious reason why a child with specific language impairment doesn’t develop speech and language skills in the way that is expected, and specific language impairment can appear differently in different children. It is an extremely complicated issue as the cause remains largely unknown. What is known is that the speech and language part of the brain doesn’t develop in the right way in children with specific language impairment, and that genetics play an important part in this. Unfortunately, there is no medical test to find out whether a child has specific language impairment or not.
What can I do to help?
Children with specific language impairment won’t be able to just ‘pick up’ language. They will need to be taught language skills in a particular way by qualified individuals in order to reach their full potential. At London Speech Therapy, we work both in schools and on a one-to-one basis with a large number of children with specific language impairment, and we would be happy to meet with you in order to discuss the services that we are able to provide. Without the right support, specific language impairment can cause life-long difficulties, so it’s important to get in touch if you do have any concerns about your child’s language development. With the right support, children with specific language impairment can progress extremely well, and we believe that no child should be left out or left behind because of a difficulty speaking or understanding.
Get in touch today and ensure your child gets the best help possible.