Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder

(46 Posts)
Yaz11 Fri 28-Jan-11 22:46:46


Does anyone know anything about SPLD? I suspect my son has this. He's 3 1/2, recently started pre-school. They wanted to refer him for speech & lang. therapy, plus an ed psych. assessment.

After trawling through the sn section, google, etc. I feel that SPLD/SPD fits the bill.

Please advise if you have similar probs/experience in this area.


ArthurPewty Sat 29-Jan-11 09:56:17

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Triggles Sat 29-Jan-11 21:14:00

Interesting info. After looking at it, I can see many of these things that fit DS2 as well. Sorry I can't help, but thank you for posting about it. Hope more can come along with info for you.

zzzzz Sun 30-Jan-11 00:52:45

If you want a diagnosis, it will normally be a team of Drs and specialists. I would go to my GP and ask to be referred for a proper assessment. The SALT [speech and language therapists] will work with your son and may also refer him on for assessment by a multi-disc. team, the ed psych.s job is to help him and his teachers get the best out of nursery and ultimately school. For instance they might say it would help him to have some time with one to one help, or perhaps that teachers should be producing visual clues to help him in class [timetables made of pictures, and lots of pictures/things to feel see when discussing topics in school].

My son was assessed at a children’s centre at about 3.5 and though ultimately they came to no conclusion as to what his dx should be, I feel [as does his SALT] that his main difficulties lie with language though he has some behavioural problems as well. Specific Language Impaired, is what they would probably describe him as now. Though we have had many different diagnosis on the table.

The charity AFASIC have a good website and also covers Semantic Pragmatic Disorder. I am now much more focused on the help he needs than naming and labelling, but I know some people find enormous relief in getting a diagnosis.

My son is very different now than he was 2 years ago and I can hardly believe how much his language has improved. Do you have other concerns about him? Is he able to make his needs understood? Where you concerned before the nursery brought it up?

ArthurPewty Sun 30-Jan-11 14:52:16

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zzzzz Mon 31-Jan-11 11:45:56

Leonie, That's really interesting. I hadn't heard that, and certainly when it was discussed with us a few years ago it was a seperate diagnosis [ie they added with asd rather than it being inferred or not as in our case.]. Do you [or indeed does anyone else] know where the discriptions of the individual diagnosis are listed and if it is possible for a lay-mum to read them? We presently work under the descriptive Neurologiacal developmental disorder with significant language delay.

I think it would be helpful for me to understand more about the diagnostic options that are there and their implications.

For instance has ASD been expanded to include all Language disorders??? Because there is likely to be some semantic and/or pragmatic element to any language disorder isn't there? If this is the case is does that mean that all language units will be redesignated as ASD units?

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 12:31:38

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ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 12:32:57

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ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 12:34:26

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zzzzz Mon 31-Jan-11 13:36:15

Leonie thank you for the link above, but on reading the page I found that my understanding of it was that there was no conclusion as to if SPD was part of ASD or not. The jury appears to be out.

I understand that you feel ASD is a good dx for you DDs, but perhaps that is not true for all Language disordered children?

I think also that when you say "not just language impaired" you give the impression that language impairment is a less devastating diagnosis and has in some way a lighter impact on the lives of those dealing with it. Outcomes both socially and economically for SLI individuals are no rosier than for their ASD counterparts. Life is not easier.

My feeling is that my son has SLI and that any behaviours he has are a result of the isolation he feels in situations where it is impossible for him to make himself understood. As his language improves he is more "normal". I find a spend a lot of time undoing some of the preconceived ideas people have about him because although picture timetables and diagrams are helpful if your language is poor, rigid routines remove the need to use new language and so there is no need for him to listen, for example.

I am off to follow the link on to the DSM because this may help me in the diagnostic jungle!

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 13:42:38

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ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 13:47:38

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zzzzz Mon 31-Jan-11 14:46:58

Leonie, I'm sorry if I have touched a nerve. I really didn't mean to. I feel nervous about talking any more about this because I can see you are angry. But her's a try,

Yes what you have said about the SLI does offend me, but that's fine. Language Impairment doesn't get "fixed" by SALT, but it can be helped. I beleive ASD can be helped by SALT as well, but I am aware that some SALT proffessionals don't agree.

I find your comments about the language unit you were refused a place in, difficult. If your childs main problem is language/speach then she should be educated in a language unit in my opinion. If moving the boundaries of ASD to include all SPD children means they are refused places in language units then they are not best served by a diagnosis of SPD/ASD.

I am less bothered by the name/label given to my child than by the knock on effect of that label. Which is why I was so interested in your original statement about SPD.

I love someone little who drooled and couldn't sit for a long time. Inside she is just the same little dumpling she always was.

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 14:57:20

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zzzzz Mon 31-Jan-11 15:15:23

Can we just disagree?
I think you can have semantic pragmatic language issues without ASD, and the diagnosis should be kept separate.

The OP doesn't have a dx yet and so I thought my experience might be of some help.

I'm sorry you find my parenting experiences/comments irrelevant. I probably didn't put it very well. I felt your comment about the other children in one of the units you visited, implied that you felt I didn't understand how difficult life can be for some children. Probably none of us do.

I'm hoping "working" or someone will pop along later because there insight is going to be way more helpful than mine. My SALT who is fabulous recommended AFASIC to me and I have found them very good. But my ds is only 5 so I haven't been at this that long.

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 16:53:38

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zzzzz Mon 31-Jan-11 17:11:26

Leonie a quite from your link above,

"The most common definitions of SPD are listed below:

A component/language style of other disorders such as autism, Asperger syndrome or hyperlexia The same as high-functioning autism
A separate valid disorder on the autism spectrum
A sub-category of specific language impairment that echoes autisticlike behaviours but not part of the autism spectrum.

There is much debate as to whether or not SPD is part of the autism spectrum. Unfortunately no diagnostic criteria exist to confirm this."

OP I'm sorry I think this is getting out of hand, and highjacking your thread, when you must be worried.

Yaz11 Mon 31-Jan-11 21:03:35

Gosh ok I've missed A LOT!! Been trying to avoid the internet since I've been driving myself and DH nuts with self-prognosis! Anyway, thanks for all the useful info.

The thing that concerns me is that DS does not respond to certain questions I ask. Everyday I ask him how he's day was at nursery/what he did etc and he's silent.

Other times he's makes himself perfectly understood but he does get confused with I/You, he/she, etc. I've been talking to him how I want him to respond so he's altering his speech slowly but he still parrots thing back, sometimes out of context and cannot give answers to questions like the above.

We're due to have SALT and Ed Pych in March so I'm trying to be patient until then. After reading the other threads and people's experiences with their autistic children, I can't seem to identify that in him but he does have social issues like ignoring people, not giving eye contact. He wants to play with other children but lacks the confidence, prob due to his speech.

He was always a slow talker and I was concerned but thought he'd catch up eventually. I still believe that because he's very good at home with eye contact, chatting, playing etc.

I've made an apt with my GP to discuss these issues and see what advice she can give me. I just don't want to ignore it anymore because if there is a need for further help or concerns about his health, then it should be addressed.

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 21:20:03

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Yaz11 Mon 31-Jan-11 21:49:12

Isn't 2ys very young to be diagnosed for your 2nd dd??

I'm a bit of a control freak so routine is something I've instilled in him anyway but he's quite happy to go on little outings etc that aren't part of his daily routine.

He hates the blender and runs out the rm. Not keen on the hairdryer but stays in the rm cos he knows it won't last long.

He's quite shy with strangers but if he knows the person and likes them, then he's all over them!

Inability to relate to his peers? Maybe cos he can't talk like they do. The teacher told me that he was quite happily wrestling with one of the other boys last week so although he can't converse well, he still wants to interact and play. He's very happy there and loves going but he's a bit of a loner.

I'm confused cos I can't figure out if he's on the spectrum or just a delayed talker who can't socialise properly due to that??

BialystockandBloom Mon 31-Jan-11 21:56:08

I would say at this stage don't worry too much or get too hung up on exactly what the label it - concentrate on the difficulties ds has and try and help those as much as you can. Wait for the ep/salt assessment to give you an actual diagnosis (if any).

Difficulties with pronouns and responding to questions are common with asd (and spd). My ds (3.9, asd) struggled with this until about 3 1/2, and either never responded to direct questions about nursery or simply said "I had fun" (probably a learnt response).

There are things you can do to help with this:

- don't ask him too many questions. Instead, make more observations yourself. eg instead of asking him what he did at nursery (if he can't answer), find out from the staff what he did, then talk to him about it: "you played with x today, that was fun!"

- make loads and loads and loads of observations yourself about everything you're doing and seeing, using maybe two key information-carrying words. eg "look at that big fast train, it's got loads of people on it"

- what helped with ds was playing games which involve each person (ideally 3 of you) doing something in turn, and naming each person not by name but by pronoun. eg crashing cars or something, saying "now it's my turn" [you do it], then pass to him saying "now it's your turn", then give to third person saying "now it's his/her turn".

Don't worry too much about he/she - gender confusion is still sometimes there with nt children at this age. Work on me/you/mine/yours though.

What is his play like generally, at home or nursery?

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 21:56:36

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Yaz11 Mon 31-Jan-11 22:22:46

BialystocklandBloom - play in general is on his own or next to kids at nursery, at home he has the attention of FIVE! adults so it's very physical with the men and with me it's a bit of both, singing, playing games, chasing around, reading. He always has to have something in his hand though, like a security item, eg action figure, lego.

LeonieDelt - I agree with you. The more I read, the more I think that he's on that spectrum somewhere but I wake up and see him in the morning and think no he's ok, there's nothing wrong with him! Total turmoil. Not doing it 'right' is him all over!

I really feel for you. It must be very difficult to handle three people with differing needs,

ArthurPewty Mon 31-Jan-11 22:36:42

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kissingfrogs Mon 31-Jan-11 23:17:41

I need to say my piece here.

If a child has problems with semantic and pragmatic language then what should it be called: semantic language impairment AND pragmatic impairment? That's semantic pragmatic impairment isn't it.

I believe that yes, it is a continuum of ASD, but deserves a seperate name. In my dds case the only language disorder that fits is SPI - yet any other ASD traits are so mild as to not warrant attention - though the same wouldn't be said if her 2-4yr old behaviour had stayed the same (big improvement on behaviour except for food issues). She's very unlikely to get a diagnosis of HFA, or SLI (as she's hearing impaired too). Maybe there should be a classification of Conversational Disability.

My point is that there are those whose language might be explained as SPI but not fit other HFA characteristics. This shouldn't rule out naming their impairment precisely for what it is: impairment of the semantics and pragmatics of language.

Dds actually very unlikely to get any sort of diagnosis. Next week she has her 2nd LEA funded EP assessment, and another SLT assessment (lost count of how many of those now) biscuit

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