The EpiSLI Database: A Publicly Available Database on Speech and Language Purpose This article describes a database that was created in the process of conducting a large-scale epidemiologic study of specific language impairment (SLI). As such, this database will be referred to as the EpiSLI database. Children with SLI have unexpected and unexplained difficulties learning and using spoken language. Although there ... Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   January 01, 2010
The EpiSLI Database: A Publicly Available Database on Speech and Language
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • J. Bruce Tomblin
    University of Iowa, Iowa City
  • Contact author: J. Bruce Tomblin, University of Iowa, Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, 250 Hawkins Drive, 7 WJSHC, Iowa City, IA 52242. E-mail: j-tomblin@uiowa.edu.
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum   |   January 01, 2010
The EpiSLI Database: A Publicly Available Database on Speech and Language
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2010, Vol. 41, 108-117. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0057)
History: Received May 23, 2008 , Accepted February 10, 2009
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2010, Vol. 41, 108-117. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/08-0057)
History: Received May 23, 2008; Accepted February 10, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose This article describes a database that was created in the process of conducting a large-scale epidemiologic study of specific language impairment (SLI). As such, this database will be referred to as the EpiSLI database. Children with SLI have unexpected and unexplained difficulties learning and using spoken language. Although there is no uniform standard for the diagnosis of SLI, the construct encompasses a language deficit occurring in the presence of grossly normal sensory and nonverbal cognitive abilities (H. Tager-Flusberg & J. Cooper, 1999). Although these language difficulties are most apparent during the preschool and early school years, evidence now exists that these problems are usually present well into adulthood and are probably present throughout a person’s life (see, for instance, C. J. Johnson et al., 1999; S. E. Stothard, M. J. Snowling, D. V. M. Bishop, B. B. Chipchase, & C. A. Kaplan, 1998; J. B. Tomblin, 2008).

Discussion Much of what we know of these children has come from research on children who have been clinically identified and served. Certainly, by studying those who are being served, our research base is most likely to be relevant to clinical services. However, there is a danger in this research strategy. It is quite possible that not all children with SLI are clinically identified and served within our service delivery systems. In such circumstances, there is the potential for systematic factors to influence which children do or do not find their way to clinical service.

Clinical Implications If our research questions are concerned with the characteristics of the actual population of children with SLI that exists in our communities and not just those who are being served, then we need to turn to methods of epidemiology to aid our research.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The research reported in this article was supported by Contract N01-DC-1-2107, Supplement 3 P50 DC002746-08S1, and Grant P50 DC 2746 (Tomblin, P.I.) from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, a division of the National Institutes of Health.
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