Summary of a debate on Specific Language Impairment
Last Thursday a debate on Specific Language Impairment (SLI) took place at Moor House School in Surrey. Participants were given food for thought from an eminent panel of researchers, each giving a different view of the diagnosis, definition, and intervention for SLI. Dr Courtenay Norbury from Royal Holloway, University of London spoke about criteria for communication disorders, Professor Dorothy Bishop gave an overview of the genetic profiling of SLI, Dr Claudine Bowyer-Crane explored the differences in how children with and without respond to intervention, Dr Vicky Slonims discussed the interface between ASD and SLI, and finally Professor Julie Dockrell shared evidence arising from the Better Communication Research Programme of profiling of language impairment form an educational perspective.
Each spoke for 10 minutes and then a lively debate followed with searching questions, including:
- Are we providing a differential diagnosis that leads to differential intervention?
- What is the impact of the ‘label’ you get in terms of accessing services?
- Is SLI a useful concept, or invented by researchers?
- What ‘flags’ do we need to look for identifying children and young people with SLI?
- The functional impact of SLI is important but how can we get better at measuring this?
- DfE or DSM? Whose definition matters most?
A small group followed up the discussion in the afternoon when the proposed DSM-V diagnostic criteria for ‘Communication Disorders’ was reviewed. A submission to the current consultation (open until 15 July) was drafted. Further comments on this are welcome at http://www.pc.rhul.ac.uk/sites/lilac/new_site/?page_id=8 where you can also view presentations from the debate.