Information on speech & language difficulties and terminology
Many different terms have historically been used to describe types of difficulties with communication and this can be confusing for parents and for professionals. Here you will find an explanation of some of the terms used.
Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN): This term includes all difficulties with any aspect of communication, including speech difficulties, language difficulties and social interaction difficulties. The term is often used by education professionals.
Speech and Language Difficulties: This is a general term used to cover a range of difficulties. Usually it refers to just difficulties with speech or language or both.
Sometimes a ‘diagnosis’ is given. This can be useful in some situations to help other people understand a child’s main difficulties. However, each child is individual and usually will have a mixture of difficulties and therefore a ‘diagnostic label’ does not give the full picture.
Specific Language Impairment (SLI), Developmental Language Disorder, Primary Language Impairment: These terms are similar in meaning. They refer to difficulties with language (understanding or expressive language), that are not associated with a biomedical condition or intellectual disability. For children with an associated biomedical condition, the term Language Disorder may be used.
Pragmatic Language Difficulties/ Disorder/ Social Communication Disorder: These terms refer to specific difficulties with using language in appropriate ways and interpreting language using the context it is said in. In the past the term ‘Semantic-Pragmatic’ Disorder was frequently used.
Recent changes in terminology
Following an international consensus exercise, the term Developmental Language Disorder, was chosen as the best term for describing children with language difficultes which affect their functioning in everyday life but which are not associated with another condition. A summary of the new consensus can be found here.
The Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists has produced some infographics to help understanding of the new terminology:
Resources and Support
|RALLI - Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairments YouTube Channel||Free films for parents, professionals and children about language difficulties. The channel features some Moor House students, ex-students and parents. www.youtube.com/rallicampaign|
|SOSSEN!||Free telephone support and information for parents about your child’s rights and getting the right help for your child|
|RCSLT - Royal College of Speech & Language Therapists||For more information about Speech& Language Therapy and your local service in UK www.rcslt.org|
|ASLTIP - Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practice||To find an independent Speech & Language Therapist near you. www.helpwithtalking.com|
|Parent talks at MHS&C||For parent talks about speech, language and communication difficulties at Moor House|
|Afasic||A parent organization who offer free information, advice and support in relation to language difficulties: www.afasic.org.uk|
|IPSEA||Advice and support for parents and carers to get the right education for their child www.ipsea.org.uk|
|IASS Network||Advice and support to parents and careers of children and young people with special educational needs (SEN) www.iassnetwork.org.uk|
|Talking Point||For information on communication difficulties www.talkingpoint.org.uk/Parent|