Specific Language Impairment
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Children with specific language impairment are characterized by difficulties in speech sound selection; they therefore fail to develop meaningful speech units. Such problems are not similar to speech impairments resulting from coordination difficulties in oral motor musculature. Symptoms for this impairment include usage of short sentences and problems in speaking and producing complex sentences. Specific language impairment is closely associated with poor vocabulary, hardship in mastering new words as well as problems in finding the required words. This is considered a problem since the child is supposed to have a complete language development during his or her early childhood years. One of the common sign is that children with specific language impairment either do not use the auxiliary verb at all or if they do use it then its usage is scarce. At other times they tend to skip function morphemes from all their speeches, such problems are solved through consistent language developments (Kent, 2004).
Research has revealed that grammatical morphology problems that are in children are as a result of delayed acquisition of the required underlying linguistic mechanisms. That is the reason why children with such disorder do not usually understand that verbs are normally marked for number if not tense. One of another key problem faced by these children is the difficulty in processing words that are to short as well as words that have rapidly changing information which is auditory. Another difficulty they experience is the poor memory of the order of auditory information. For example children with specific languge impairment have problems with pronouncing words which have brief sounds and require rapid pronunciation. Research reveals that this problem maybe as a result of difficulties in perception of grammatical forms which are short lived (Bishop and Leonard 2001).
Research has revealed that one of the major challenges about this condition is the short term sound memory in children. As a result most children tend to have poor memory sounds that are associated with speeches. Studies have further revealed that children with specific language disorder tend to perform poorly when it comes to repeating meaningless words. For these reason recent studies has shown that there is a high correlation between poor memory of speech sounds and speech production as well as vocabulary acquisition. It has become apparent clearly that memory of the speech function is of primary importance to facilitation of language learning. Primary assessment for specific language disorders can be done by both teachers and parents of the specific children. For example, Grammar and Phonology Screening (GAPS) Test is easy to use and this test is applicable to children between ages three to six. This test is very accurate in determining whether a child has any kind of language impairment or not. Once it’s been found that the child has issues with speech further assessments are recommended for better treatment (Bishop and Leonard 2001).
Specific language impairment might be due to a number of factors. For example brain injury, hearing loss, mental retardation as well as other neurological impairments. Most of the language impairments cann be treated by employing speech therapy though others are very complicated therefore requiring medical attention. Other necessary treatment may include psychotherapy as well as organic conditions correction. In the US most children with specific language impairments are taken to special schools which offer them special education. Language impairment can either be a primary factor of diagnosis or an indication of developmental dysfunction. Sometimes the approaches used in intervention of the disorder may vary in order to take into account aspects like the learning styles as well as the developmental profiles that might be unique (Bishop and Leonard 2001).
The specific interventions used are designed in a way that they are able to take into considerations aspects like the child’s communication requirements, the language level of the child, specific interests as well as the child’s cognitive abilities. Once a child has been identified of having some kind of language impairment the first step which is taken is the formulation of an individualized plan of therapy. This therapy is formulated basing on the in depth assessments of the abilities of comprehension as well as production of different domains of language vocabulary and language use of the child. Research reveals that the child vocabulary, language use and grammar are affected differently with time in the same child. That is the reason why different therapy plans are tailored for specific children and the assessments of the same is carried out periodically. Basing on the prevailing factors multiple therapies are often used (Wolraich, Dworkin, Drotar and Perrin 2008).
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