What’s Normal? Specific Language Impairment in an Individual Differences Perspective In this paper, the issue of language impairment is set in a broader perspective of individual differences. Two aspects of language development are identified in which the discrepancies between domains of language and/or cognitive development often observed in specific language impairment (SLI) children occur naturally as a consequence of individual ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   April 01, 1991
What’s Normal? Specific Language Impairment in an Individual Differences Perspective
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Philip S. Dale, Ph.D.
    Department of Psychology University of Washington, Seattle
  • Kevin N. Cole
    Department of Psychology University of Washington, Seattle
  • Requests for reprints may be sent to Philip S. Dale, Ph.D., Department of Psychology, University of Washington NI-25, Seattle, WA 98195.
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Attention, Memory & Executive Functions / Clinical Forum: Specific Language Impairment as a Clinical Category
Clinical Forum   |   April 01, 1991
What’s Normal? Specific Language Impairment in an Individual Differences Perspective
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 1991, Vol. 22, 80-83. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2202.80
History: Received March 23, 1990 , Accepted June 25, 1990
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 1991, Vol. 22, 80-83. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2202.80
History: Received March 23, 1990; Accepted June 25, 1990

In this paper, the issue of language impairment is set in a broader perspective of individual differences. Two aspects of language development are identified in which the discrepancies between domains of language and/or cognitive development often observed in specific language impairment (SLI) children occur naturally as a consequence of individual variation in rate of development together with relative independence of specific domains. In the first case, concerning bound morphemes versus syntactic development, research with precocious children complements data from language-impaired children in demonstrating that morphology is the component of language most tied to general language learning ability. In the second case, the definition of specific language impairment as a distinct etiology on the basis of discrepancy between language and nonverbal cognitive development (the "Cognitive Hypothesis") is shown to lead to an invalid prediction. Children with SLI do not show a distinctive response to language intervention, relative to children with even profiles of language and nonverbal cognitive abilities.

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