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A new term Developmental Language Disorder

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by JulesDaulby, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    I have already written about Language Learning Impairment on this forum but I thought it important to begin this new thread.

    The label has changed again, this time however the name will hopefully stick and they'll be raised awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (#devlangdis) in schools worldwide.

    This, by Professor Dorothy Bishop (@deevybee) is vital to read and pin up on your staffroom noticeboard.


    TES has even kept it out of the paywall for maximum exposure.
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2017
  2. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    I just find it strange I do not recall anyone at school 1960-1972 who seemed to have language difficulties. There were schools for blind or deaf children but I do not recall seeing children in wheelchairs and very few with Downs Syndrome or Thalidomide damage.etc.
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Not so new a label for an additional learning need. Hugh W. Catts wrote an article back in 1989 entitled "Defining Dyslexia as a Developmental Language Disorder" for Annals of Dyslexia. See: https://www.jstor.org/stable/23769352?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents.

    I'm encouraged by the mention of an initiative involving "teaching assistants intensively focusing on the basics of vocabulary and language with children from the age of four to ensure that they can access the school curriculum", which promises to be a practical intervention with potentially positive outcomes.

    I also welcome the statement by Dorothy Bishop that the research “has made me keener to make my work more relevant to everyday things and not be too rarefied and theoretical.” I once attended a multidisciplinary conference on dyslexia where academic educational psychologists were the keynote speakers and revelled in jargon-laden overtheorising obscurantism because they were only interested in addressing an audience of educational psychologists, leaving the "laity", parents, teachers and other stakeholders, bewildered and feeling the victims of discourtesy and poor communication.

    There is a danger that many teachers may simply see a change of name for a SEN condition, after such a brief flirtation with "Specific Language Impairment", as ivory-towerish tinkering and will expect solid classroom-ready advice and strategies to emerge before they will accept the change wholeheartedly. I think too that any diagnosis of DLD will have to be accompanied by reliable assessment procedures and clear intelligible symptoms arising from the individual student rather than descriptions of a changing and possibly heterogenious population of sufferers with a variety of issues.

    Finally, I'd like to see more evidence that this prioritising of one element of Speech, Language and Communication Needs is an international phenomenon rather than a purely English initiative. A quick Google search appears to show that the term DLD crops up mostly on UK websites. What have the Americans and the Continental Europeans to say on the subject? I can read French and German, so are there any articles in those languages that I can browse to convince myself that England is not acting on its own here?
  4. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    Is that an example of Developmental Language Disorder?
  5. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Ha! No it's the hashtag on Twitter :)
  6. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    All valid points. It's a replacement term of SLI and was decided by a worldwide conference of SLTs. They do hope to spread the word - Australia and New Zealand are trailblazers too - there's also a WeSpeechies chat on Twitter which happens weekly. Many countries seem to join in. Have you seen work from Prof Pamela Snow?
    Dodros likes this.
  7. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I wonder whether such Anglo-American SLCN terminology as "verbal dyspraxia" and "developmental dysphasia" have now been consigned to the history books?

    Interesting too that the German medical term for "Developmental Language Disorder" is "Sprachentwicklungsstörung" (SES) (Literally: Language Developmental Disorder), while its term for "Specific Language Impairment" is "spezifische Sprachentwicklungsstörung" (SSES) (Literally: Language-specific Developmental Disorder), so the German term contained the "developmental" descriptor all along.

    I hope there won't be any future confusion between "developmental coordination disorder" (DCD or dyspraxia) and "developmental language disorder" (DLD?) when acronyms begin to be used.

    And I trust that this shift in nomenclature will lead to a real change on the ground, which may only happen when we see more SLTs spending time in our schools to kick-start much needed SLCN-specific educational interventions. It worries me, having worked with secondary school students with SLCN, that there is plenty of advice for teachers on the implications of autism, dyslexia, moderate learning difficulties and visual Impairment for each area of the curriculum while virtually nothing equivalent exists for SLCN, indicating that there is still a great deal of ground to cover in the field. It doesn't help that "speech and language difficulties" tend to be regarded in some quarters as "medical" issues to be addressed by NHS professionals rather than teaching staff.
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  8. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    I don't remember much from my 1950s primary school, but my boys' grammar school from the 1960s left me with indelible memories of many students who would have fulfilled the criteria for a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome nowadays. I also recall several students back then with withered hands as the result of thalidomide prescription during their mothers' pregnancies as well as a handful of stammerers who would, hopefully, be beneficiaries of SLT interventions in modern times. When I qualified as a teacher in 1971, the terms "ineducable" and "educationally subnormal" (ESN) were in regular use among educationalists.
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  9. dzil

    dzil Occasional commenter

    This is an interesting thread. I remember in the late 1970's writing my dissertation on Developmental Language Disorder - which was, at the time, the "new" term for what was sometimes known as childhood apahsia or just not recognised. It referred mainly to the poor development of oral and auditory language and did not include dyslexia although it was seen as a related difficulty.

    The main reason you did not come across many of these students at school is that until 1971 they were "taught" in Junior Training Centres run by social services or health. They were not considered eligible to receive an education from a qualified teacher in a school.
    Dodros and JulesDaulby like this.
  10. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    A great thread.And historically interesting too. Thank you Alfie commenting.

    It is likely we'll agree that attention should be paid to DLD in the same way as teachers get training on dyslexia, ASD etc. It has been the poor relative for too long.

    Training for teachers is vital and I'm sure Professor Bishop will affect change I. Schools.

    Incidentally, the latest book from dyslexia expert, Professor Snowling says dyslexia is a language disorder and on the continuum. Another thread perhaps?!
    Dodros likes this.
  11. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    This is a good point. Interestingly, the change of term was an international research project, I can't remember what they used but it took in opinions from across the globe. DLD came up as the most popular term. I think it will eventually begin spreading - it's still relatively new. I do agree though, personally, I found specific language impairment a term which was becoming known to laypersons. Thanks for commenting.

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