Trying to Make Sense of Developmental Language Disorders In this article, I share my thoughts concerning what children with developmental language disorders should be called, how they should be defined, and how we might differentiate children with specific language impairment (SLI) from other children with developmental language disorders. Among other things, I attempt to show why a lack ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 1998
Trying to Make Sense of Developmental Language Disorders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Alan G. Kamhi
    University of Memphis, TN
  • Contact author: Alan Kamhi, Memphis Speech and Hearing Center, 807 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105.
    Contact author: Alan Kamhi, Memphis Speech and Hearing Center, 807 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38105.×
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: akamhi@cc.memphis.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 1998
Trying to Make Sense of Developmental Language Disorders
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1998, Vol. 29, 35-44. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2901.35
History: Received June 18, 1997 , Accepted June 19, 1997
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1998, Vol. 29, 35-44. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2901.35
History: Received June 18, 1997; Accepted June 19, 1997

In this article, I share my thoughts concerning what children with developmental language disorders should be called, how they should be defined, and how we might differentiate children with specific language impairment (SLI) from other children with developmental language disorders. Among other things, I attempt to show why a lack of congruence between clinical and research constructs should be expected.

Researchers and clinicians use different identification criterion and procedures because clinical and educational objectives are different from research objectives. While recognizing these differences, I suggest several possible ways to differentiate a subgroup of children with SLI from the general population of children with developmental language disorders without using nonverbal IQ. Even if researchers are able to identify this unique group of children, clinicians may never embrace the SLI construct.

In the best of all possible worlds, clinicians would be familiar with how researchers define SLI and appreciate the value of research that attempts to identify distinct subgroups of children with developmental language disorders. Researchers, in this ideal world, would recognize and acknowledge the lack of congruence between the research populations of SLI and the larger clinical population of children with developmental language disorders.

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