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Specific Language Impairment? Any experience?

(20 Posts)
hazeyjane Wed 10-Feb-16 16:12:15

Any experience of this? Also any idea if it can be co-morbid with other conditions or would this contradict the diagnosis?!

pandyandy2 Wed 10-Feb-16 16:48:08

Hi. I am nooooo expert whatsoever...however my DS (3) has a speech delay and his understanding of language is delayed.
When he was assessed by our local SALT unit they also said his concentration and listening skills were poor and he struggles to turn take. (My OH and I think in conjunction wit his quirks possible ASD.)

Anyhow...I asked the SALT the other day why my DS couldn't just attend the Preschool Unit instead of having 'Outreach Provision' and she said that most of the children who attend the unit have a Specific Language Impairment and apart from understanding and speech obviously been impaired, other areas of development were 'on track.'

I took that to mean that my DS has other issues going on that affect his speech and language...the children at the Unit...well that's what's holding them back IYSWIM!

zzzzz Wed 10-Feb-16 17:25:52

It's what they said we might have but we've settled on severe language disorder and ASD. Dorothy Bishop is good for a Google, Oxford Uni She is heavily involved with RALLI which is also worth a Google.

Youarentkiddingme Wed 10-Feb-16 19:43:49

My understanding of it is that it's like specific learning difficulty. That's its one specific area tha affects language/communication or one specific area of language that's affected.

Eg if a child can understand and form sentences another way to communicate (signing, AAC device) but doesn't have speech then that is the 'specific' language impairment.

<I will add a Disclaimer that I could be totally wrong>

zzzzz Wed 10-Feb-16 20:07:02

I think that's wrong. A child with SLI will have SLI regardless of the medium used to communicate. It is the deficit before the communication is accessed. To be honest I don't think you can have language disorder that isn't like that. I think the Specific bit refers to the fact that the rest of you can be fine (this is true of ds but he has ASD as well so SLI I think would be a silly dx for him).

Youarentkiddingme Wed 10-Feb-16 20:23:48

That makes sense zzzzz
Ds has language disorder related to ASD and specific learning difficulty.
His SpLD is nothing to do with the ASD although the ASD serves to complicate it further iyswim? And without the ASD it's highly unlikely he'd have any language disorder as its social communication that's mainly affected. Although the poor grammar and mispronounciation of sounds would likely still exist without the ASD iyswim?

It's a bleeding minefield grin

hazey id suggest asking salt for clarification if you are unsure.

hazeyjane Wed 10-Feb-16 20:28:20

Thankyou that is all interesting.

Ds had an IQ (non verbal reasoning) test on Mon, which showed that in this area his IQ was slightly above average, he has also been assessed as having a low average understanding of language - but he largely relies on an AAC device and signing for communication,valthough he has some very unclear words and lots of uh uh uhs.

I had a very garbled phone call from his SALT saying she thinks a speech unit might be more appropriate than mainstream with support or the complex needs resource base, and that he has a specific language impairment - she then asked if he had a diagnosis (she is his 5th SALT in the last 4 years and doesn't appear to have had time to read his notes in the last 5 months (!) I explained the complicatedness that is ds - initially thought to have cerebral palsy due to his low tone with intermittent stiffness and traumatic birth, then sent from neurology to genetics, thought to have Kleefstra Syndrome, now under review, in the DDD study and going for a second MRI.

Now having googled SLI I see that it says that it is a language impairment with no other difficulties that would explain that impairment (I think!).......but if that is the case, why does ds have low muscle tone, need splints and supportive seating, suffer recurrent chest infections, ptosis, sensory issues etc etc I don't know if it is possible for a specific impairment to go hand in hand with a genetic condition. It is very confusing and I feel a bit like we have suddenly been whisked into a different stadium!

zzzzz Wed 10-Feb-16 20:41:32

I don't know much about aac devices. Does he have access to enough individual words for you to tell if he can form good sentences? (and does he get enough practice at sentence building for him to become fluent?)

I agree it's a bit of a mine field. Have you ever tried him with bog standard non verbal reasoning papers? Bond do some starting at age 5 but you could try a bit early. Personally I think language unit is the nirvana for children with communication difficulties.

hazeyjane Wed 10-Feb-16 22:33:47

He talksz with a mixture of signed words, uhs and the ocassional word which someone who k owe him might understand in context but the structure is wonky.

The device helps him learn to build sentences - so today I asked who he played with today (he chooses someone from ms class to do a puzzle, he signed 1 (year 1), he said xxxx (unclear but his TA had told me who) and he said uh uh arr (puzzle hard). I said did xxxx and you finish the puzzle he signed 'teacher help me' - when we got home we built the sentence 'xxxx and I did a puzzle, it was hard!' so that be could tell dh. School are working on simple action sentences - 'daddy is sleeping' 'floppy is in the bath' using the talker.

We will visit the speech unit, but it is a long way. The infants he is in now (in a resource base) is amalgamating with a juniors with a good rep for sn, so it will be a new school (at the end of our road).

zzzzz Wed 10-Feb-16 22:38:35

end of your road is pretty hard to beat.

I don't see how he could be age appropriately structuring sentences if the method of communication is clunky in itself so I'm not sure how you would distinguish between language impairment and communication obstacle IYSWIM.

If you read two sentences to him can he choose the most grammatically correct?

Can he read?

hazeyjane Thu 11-Feb-16 13:12:46

No he wouldn't understand that, zzzzz

The talker while clunky is helping his communication a lot, and he has picked up how to use it very quickly. The ed psych was talking in terms of him learning keyboard skills and using the talker to help (even as far ahead as GCSEs)

He is just starting with phonics really, on level 1+ ORT books, with a sentence like ' dogs like to run' (this is one of his favourite books, so he may be able to read it because he knows it very well!) when he sounds out the words, you can tell when he knows the word, even if he can't say the word clearly (he will sign it, or find it on his talker) if he doesn't know it, he will look at you for help.

If you remember he was very very anxious about separating from me, and he has made huge leaps with that, But still needs a lot of preparation for change, like being picked up from a different classroom. The thought of sending him on transport to a school miles away with none of the children he recognises seems huge.

(By the way, thankyou zzzzzsmile hope your brood are all well)

zzzzz Thu 11-Feb-16 13:39:07

All chugging along. smile. I often think of you and your girls and ds and send good thoughts for you all.

The "pink box" Montessori Method of word building is really great and quite fun to make if you like crafty stuff. Montessori@home reading games 1 has some games attached one of which is rearranging words into sentences that are read aloud. Ds liked them.

Get him a solid alphabet (or make one) or cheap fridge magnets.

uggerthebugger Thu 11-Feb-16 15:41:34

Hi hazey my two have been diagnosed with SLI. It can be diagnosed with other conditions present - my DSs are both profoundly deaf and dyspraxic too.

It's clearly a discrete language impairment they have, not a speech impairment - it affects the quality and fluency of their signing, as well as their speech.

Out of these three impairments, I've found the SLI hardest to tackle, tbh - a lot of hard grind, and it takes a long time (years) before you feel like you're getting any momentum. But they've both got the right support, and they are making very good progress now.

uggerthebugger Thu 11-Feb-16 15:47:40

Oops - pressed too soon.

Not everyone in academia is agreed on the existence of SLI - and for those who believe it exists, not everyone agrees on what it means.

This academic journal from mid-2014 is probably the best summary of where various people stand.

DigestiveBiscuit Fri 12-Feb-16 09:38:38

DD was in specialist speech and language provision from 4 - 16 - infant and junior language units, then a specialist speech and language school. All her friends had any combination of a speech and/or language disorder, dyspraxia, ASD, epilepsy, dyslexia, cerebral palsy or hemiplegia (can cause SLI), genetic conditions.....It was quite rare to come across a child, who say just had an expressive language disorder. However, language is the medium by which the national curriculum is delivered, and a SLI will have the biggest impact on the child's ability to access the curriculum - that's why there are language units, not dyspraxia units whatever. I know ASD can cause massive problems too for children in mainstream classrooms, but certainly here, they could not find schools willing to host autism units and they had to concentrate on more support for children in mainstream.

In the language units, they specifically excluded children with attention or behaviour problems from consideration - because the view was that the children had to be able to benefit from the intensive provision from offer. However, I'm sure that there were children with SLI and ADHD in mainstream, or the EBD units!

hazeyjane Tue 15-Mar-16 13:48:25

Just coming back to thus thread to update and thankyou all for posting (it has all really helped!)

The speech unit it recommended is, unfortunately, being closed down due to cutbacks, so it looks as though we are back at ms with support - although the head of the unit thinks starting juniors in the CNRB, and moving in to ms through the first year, is a better option as this will help ds with the transition (which he will struggle with)

The SALT is co ing in to do an assessment of ds's social skills, as this is increasingly becoming an issue, sotbat will be interesting.

After a big disaster with ds's teacher switching 1-1s, leaving ds with a TA who couldn't understand Makaton or use the AAC device (ds's main forms of communication) we had (another) meeting insisting that ds has a TA who he can communicate with (the1-1 was even unable to understand that ds was asking for his inhaler angry) The teacher has agreed to have 2 TAs trained up in the higher level makaton courses (which I am doing at the moment) and to be trained by the AAC SALT, ds will share these 2 TAs throughout the week and they will hopefully transition with him to juniors.

Its never easy is it?!

zzzzz Wed 16-Mar-16 08:24:56

No never easy angry

Ds has a TA who answers for him before he can speak. I am going to have to have a chat and everyone is going to get defensive sad

StarlightMcKenzee Wed 16-Mar-16 18:50:22

I've been searching for the answer to this for 5 years and have come to the conclusion that NO-ONE KNOWS!!!!!

So just use whatever terms help you to get the resources you need and to communicate what you need to I reckon.

hazeyjane Thu 17-Mar-16 13:04:51

Thank you you two.

Sometimes I feel as though I am knitting a jumper, I have no pattern for, a hundred strands of wool on the go, and one hand tied behind my back. I am sure the jumper will be brilliant though!

Tutak Sat 19-Mar-16 11:16:03

Hello hazeyjane, my DS (12) has had at one point SLI, and delay and disorder diagnoses from different professionals. Now speaks more or less understandably to others, but still has unusual language processing/production problems. Don't think we'll ever get really accurate label, just want the one that will get him appropriate support. Totally agree with StarlightMcKenzee that labels seem to be a mess in terms of definition - echoing zzzz that Dorothy Bishop's writing well worth checking out too. On the AAC front, there's a great woman (American) who blogs about her non-verbal daughter and AAC here:
- she puts up really useful resources and she has a lovely positive attitude and uses non-academic language.
And this Facebook group might be worth joining too:

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