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Developmental Language Disorder, Post

Developmental Language Disorder

Developmental Language Disorder, or DLD, is the subject of two recent research studies. Well reported on the internet including in The Conversation. The term replaces Specific Language Impairment. This change is found in the DSM-V (English) and does not necessarily apply to medical terms in all languages.

DLD means a person has an on-going difficulty with language that is not related to any disability. It is a stand-alone disorder. It is persistent through life and has no identifiable cause. Speech therapy is not the solution however it would seem to be helpful if a child with DLD has difficulty enunciating words. The child with speech problems believes they are saying the word correctly.

Results of studies for SLI in other European languages vary. Yet these two studies quoted below indicate that  studies in English of English speakers have different vulnerabilities, or even worse results.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18658062

A study of Icelandic and English children concluded:

“… whereas children with SLI in both language groups evidence deficits in language processing, cross-linguistic differences are seen in which linguistic structures are vulnerable when processing load is increased”.  It states also: “Error rates were higher overall in English than in Icelandic, but whether the difference was significant depended on the sampling context…” and appeared to refer to the morphological differences (written form) between the languages.

Let’s re-state that main point: “Error rates were higher overall in English…”

A French study concludes:

 The results indicate that the spontaneous language of French-speaking children with SLI in the preschool age range is characterized primarily by a generalized language impairment and that morphological deficits do not stand out as an area of particular vulnerability, in contrast with the pattern found in English for this age group.” (Italics added.)

So it’s the English language and the vulnerabilities specific to it! This means that primary school teachers, and teachers generally in English-speaking societies, need to teach to the vulnerabilities of the language that expose children to further delays in language development than need be.

 

 

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