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Speech and Language Impairment

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Children who have difficulty producing speech or communicating with others may be diagnosed with a Specific Language Impairment (SLI). SLI is a language disorder characterized by slow mastery of language skills in children who have no hearing loss or other developmental delays. It is also called developmental language disorder, language delay, or developmental dysphasia. SLI is one of the most common learning disabilities of childhood. Children with SLI are often late to talk and may not produce any words until after 2 years of age. After beginning to speak, children with SLI may have difficulty being understood by others, may struggle to learn new words or make conversation, and may have trouble using verbs. Treatment for SLI involves therapy with a speech-language pathologist or speech therapist. Additionally, educational specialists can provide strategies to help to enrich the school environment.

More information is available through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

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