Specific language impairment affects one child in every classroom

Specific language impairment affects one child in every classroom

One child in every classroom is affected by a specific language impairment, a little recognised condition that affects all aspects of life, prompting a group of leading academics to come together and launch RALLI, a video led campaign to raise awareness.

Specific language impairment (SLI) hinders understanding and expressing language with impact on how children learn, form friendships and develop.  Despite how common the condition can be, it receives little recognition, with many children and their families missing out as a result on accessing much needed help and support.

To change this, academics including Dorothy Bishop, Professor of Developmental Neuropyschology at Oxford University, Gina Conti-Ramsden, Professor of Child Language and Learning at the University of Manchester, and Maggie Snowling, Professor of Psychology at the University of York, have joined forces to launch RALLI, Raising Awareness of Language Impairment. Aimed at children, parents, families and education professionals, it will share video stories based on people’s experiences of SLI and what can be done to help those affected. RALLI has been launched with funding support from Afasic, The Waterloo Foundation and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). 

Professor Dorothy Bishop commented: “Language learning impairment can have a dramatic impact on children. Research shows that two in five children who have the condition say they have difficulties interacting with peers and are twice as likely to be bullied. These issues do not stop as they grow older, in fact, teenagers with language impairment are two and half times more likely to report symptoms of anxiety or depression. That’s why we had to take action and launch RALLI, to raise awareness of those who suffer.”

Becky Clark, RALLI editor and a speech and language therapist said: ”Our ambition is to bring together the leading academics in the field to produce informed, relevant video that will shine a light on SLI and help those affected. The channel will become a where people can come and get support, but also comment and discuss the issues. We’re really hoping to build a community as well as raising awareness.”

Professor Conti-Ramsden said: “Like all the members of RALLI, when I tell people about my work in SLI, most people have never heard of the condition; that’s why I got involved. It’s essential we raise awareness of this condition so that children and families can get early diagnosis and get the help they need.”

Professor Snowling said: “Studies show that too often behavioural issues and other conditions, such as dyslexia or autism, can also have an underlining language learning impairment. There has to be greater recognition of the complexity of the issues associated with SLI then greater sharing of the research insight to support education professionals and families helping those affected.”

Dr Courtney Norbury, contributor to the RALLI editorial board, commented: “I would love everyone who watches the RALLI videos to be more aware of how important language is. Imagine then if you were not able to understand or express yourself in the way everyone else could. So, watch RALLI, then if you like it, pass it on to six of your friends and family, We hope it will change how people think about SLI for good.”  

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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