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Language Learning Impairment 7 times more common than autism

Discussion in 'Special educational needs' started by JulesDaulby, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    After careful consideration, speech and language experts around the world have decided to come up with a universally approved term for speech and language difficulties, in this post, named a language learning impairment. This new term is Developmental Language Disorder, DLD or #DevLangDis for short. The advice in this post still stands but TES has just produced an excellent piece which includes more information. I'm quoted in some of the classroom teachers advice in the red box: https://www.tes.com/news/tes-magazine/tes-magazine/suffering-silence.

    A few other pieces are here:



    It would appear that finally, DLD is getting the coverage it deserves and this new name, I hope, is here to stay.

    A student with a Specific Language Impairment (SLI) or Language Learning Impairment (LLI) is 7 times more common than autism. The DFE has recently introduced compulsory training for teachers on autism yet the statistics suggest language difficulties should also be a priority.

    What is a Language Learning Impairment?

    A difficulty with oral language.
    Talking and understanding may be affected.


    May miss off grammatical endings to words 'I play in the park' rather than 'I played in the park'.
    May get the order of words jumbled.
    May not use long and complex sentences (missing out conjunctions).
    May mix up words e.g. tooken instead of taken.
    In playground they may not understand rules of the game or struggle in groups.
    May appear forgetful or a poor listener.
    May be a child who copies others a lot.
    May have beautiful handwriting but content bears little resemblance to task.
    May be quiet in the classroom.
    Has difficulties explaining what they want to say or struggle to understand.
    Hidden disability as students with LLI may not respond to conversation and might come across as lazy, rude or unresponsive.
    Problems with verbal activities e.g. Circle Time
    Problems getting jokes
    And accounting for own actions

    Here are some tips for teaching students with LLI:

    • Time, time and more time – schools go so fast – but allowing the student with LLI just a little more time to answer a question or complete a task will make a lot of difference.

    • Visual visual visual – no, I’m not saying they’re a visual learner but when language is a barrier, using visual prompts can help to signpost activities for a student with LLI and trigger memory. By using images of the subject you’re discussing, this will help the student to link information and categorise for storing.

    • Modify language – for many students it is good to challenge them with extended vocabulary but for the student with LLI, it is the carrier language and phrasing which can confuse them. Try to concentrate on the knowledge you want them to learn and simplify the other bits of language.

    • Keep your sentences short and concise. Use simple language with the key words they need to learn.

    • Students with LLI may also need literal language, struggling to cope with metaphor and idioms.

    • Break down instructions into small steps – you can get your TA to break tasks down with a tick box after each one. Chunk instructions and information.

    • Knowing that just because a student has nodded at you does not necessarily mean he or she has understood is a vital skill for the teacher of a student with LLI. Asking them to repeat back what they have they to do is a useful strategy (but allow them time to do this).

    • Being sympathetic to language overload and spending 5 minutes with them, perhaps explaining with spot images (like bullet points but small pictures) can make a difference.

    • Asking the student to repeat back what they have to do will help them.

    Further reading
    Professor Dorothy Bishop researches and champions LLI. She is part of RALLI – raising awareness of language impairments (@RALLIcam). There are many excellent YouTube clips.

    Professor Bishop is also good to follow on Twitter @deevybee and her blog is one of the best out there. http://deevybee.blogspot.com/

    Professor Pamela Snow (@PamelaSnow2) has influenced me and knows much about literacy and language (and phonics). Her blog, The Snow Report is here: http://t.co/sP2ewQ80YB. I think she has persuaded me to change my mind on a number of occasions too.

    Susan Ebbels, a speech therapist, has created shape coding – it’s a visual strategy for grammar using shape and colour.

    Stephen Parsons (@WordAware) has been a useful contact and has a great book. http://www.thinkingtalking.co.uk/

    I Can Charity has many resources and knowledge on LLI (@iCANcharity).
    @afasic is also an excellent source of information as is Communication Trust (@comm_ntrust).

    NAPLIC is the association for language impairment in children.

    There’s hashtags #LLI_ #SLpeeps and (@WeSpeechies) #WeSpeechies is a collective Twitter account for speech and language professionals. They often have useful chats on Twitter. Caroline Bowen as @speech_woman is another account to follow.



    What tips do you have for students with LLI?
  2. languageisheartosay

    languageisheartosay Occasional commenter

    The resources I made for such children are on TES and indexed on my blog languageisheartosay.com and mention many subject areas. Nearly everything listed is free to download from TES.
    Additional reading material (for about 7y RA) is laid out in a way which may help them read more fluently and grasp meaning see https://languageisheartosay.com/resources/reading-for-meaning/
    JulesDaulby, Dodros and sofia_sen like this.
  3. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Can you please explain the practical benefits of using the "Specific Language Impairment" label in the English educational system when the current term of choice here is "Speech, Language and Communication Needs" (SLCN)? Unlike "Specific Language Impairment", the SEN category of "Speech, Language and Communication Needs" is mentioned numerous times in the current SEN Code of Practice, so it certainly remains a priority in the CoP. Is there an armoury of strategies that would be lost to classroom practitioners in supporting their students if they continued addressing "SLCN" instead of "SLI/LLI"? What are the views of Speech and Language Therapists who might be expected to advise schools how to refocus on SLI/LLI?
    CurriculumForAutism likes this.
  4. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    That's a good question. SLCN is an umbrella term which covers social communication, speech (articulation) difficulties and language difficulties - these difficulties may be caused by other difficulties or co-occur. LLI is very specifically a language difficulty and other development stages may appear typical. in the CoP, LLI will come under SLCN but so will other conditions linked to language.

    http://www.ican.org.uk/en/what_is_the_issue/about sli/sli and slcn.aspx

    I think for teachers it is useful to know what the language difficulty is and out strategies in place based on this information.

    Does that help?
    CurriculumForAutism and Dodros like this.
  5. Dodros

    Dodros Star commenter

    Yes, that does help. Thank you. I completely concur that there is too little attention paid by both researchers and policy makers to the educational implications of SLCN in general and SLI/LLI in particular. I just don't want a neglected field such as SLCN to be further fragmented and possibly further marginalised in the process.

    It's my belief that an SEN condition promises to be truly addressed in secondary education when classroom-ready advice, both generic and subject-specific, becomes available. There are series of publications to assist teachers in delivering each of the core and foundation subjects of the National Curriculum when it comes to Moderate Learning Difficulties, Dyslexia, Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Visual Impairment, but none exists for teachers of students with SLCN or SLI/LLI. And nor are there such series for Social, Emotional and Mental Health, Hearing Impairment or Physical and Medical Difficulties.

    As an MFL teacher who turned into an SEN teacher in mid-career, I became interested in the subject-teaching implications of SEN in general and its implications for MFL in particular. On the SpecialEducationalNeeds.com website at www.specialeducationalneeds.com/home/languages I have a teacher-training case study focusing on a foreign language learner with Speech, Language and Communication Needs, supported by a reading list of professional literature in SLCN/MFL. I found an immense dearth of publications in the field, many suffering from "link-rot" (the irritating tendency of universities and local authorities to remove unique advice and resources from their websites) and many written in German, because there are still plenty of "Schulen für Sprachbehinderte" (schools for learners with language impairments) in Germany with English as a foreign language on the curriculum and the teachers / researchers there are prepared to publish articles about their work, while our counterparts here appear much more reticent to do so.

    I would love to see not only a major publication dedicated to Speech, Language and Communication Needs (or SLI/LLI) in schools but also an accompanying series of mini-publications dedicated to strategies within each core and foundation curriculum subject. The arrival of this advice would inform and empower all secondary school subject teachers to include students with language issues in their classrooms. Otherwise some areas of SEN seem destined to be regarded as the SENCO's concern and not anybody else's within many secondary schools.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  6. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Yes, informed quality first teaching vital. SEN best practice should be embedded in whole school.

    Thanks for conversation - really interesting.
  7. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Jules - I recently read an article by Maggie Snowling which indicated that there is no formally agreed and monitored way of officially diagnosing SLI as there is for diagnosing dyslexia ( where there are very clear (ish) guidlines set by SASC/Patoss etc.)

    Can you tell me if you have any further info about the process of formally diagnosing SLI ?

    Many thanks
  8. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Yes, this true.

    You might want to read these:


    and the SLI debate. Both highlight the issues well.

    Generally however, I still rely on our Speech and Language Therapists for diagnostic assessments for expressive and receptive language difficulties and our SENSS service for dyslexia. Once more complex, we then refer to the core diagnostic team and liaise with our Education Pychologist.

    Hope this helps.

    Attached Files:

    scazade likes this.
  9. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    Thanks Jules - will take a look
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  10. marcusmassey

    marcusmassey New commenter

    Excellent thread
    JulesDaulby likes this.
  11. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Thanks and to all contributors
    bonxie likes this.
  12. dolfrog

    dolfrog New commenter

    I begin to wonder when we will get the required multi - discipline approach to understanding these complex issues.
    Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a clinically diagnosed listening disability, the brain having problems processing what the ears hear. APD is one of the underlying cognitive causes of both Developmental Dyslexia and Specific Language Inpairment.
    The problem is more the real lack of understanding of these comple issues in favour of marketing based quick fix, which includes the need of some researchers to maintain their sources of research funding.
  13. JulesDaulby

    JulesDaulby Occasional commenter

    Tricky isn't it? I often think it's the primary need which is important for the support. Professor Bishop writes really well on this - she uses graphs showing research funding streams and diagnoses - also how a diagnosis may be dependent on which specialist you see e.g. SALT - SLI/- EP - dyslexia - Paediatrician - ASD etc

    I'm not sure what the answer is but you're right that a multi-agency approach should be most effective.
  14. Aparicio1

    Aparicio1 New commenter

    Thank you very much for the information. I think it is very important that students have the help of parents with homework, they should correct them when writing, pronouncing and reading every day for at least an hour.
  15. cycomiz

    cycomiz New commenter

    Great discussion.Thank you
  16. anamikakhanna669

    anamikakhanna669 New commenter

    Thanks for sharing the info. It is really important relevant for families and parents to come up together and work to make them speak, write and correct it immediately.

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