Abstract and Keywords
A variety of communication disorders, including problems in hearing, speech, and language, can interfere with a child’s ability to understand and be understood by other people. Communication disorders sometime co-occur with other physical and neurodevelopmental abnormalities, but often their causes are unknown. The most prevalent of the idiopathic communication disorders is child language impairment (LI). LI is defined by significant deficits in understanding (receptive skills) or generating (expressive skills) meaningful linguistic content; it affects 5–8% of children. Best evidence on identifying LI supports a comprehensive multimethod and multisource assessment by a certified speech–language pathologist. With respect to intervention, evidence strongly favors treated over untreated children for expressive language goals; less conclusive evidence is available concerning treatment for receptive language skills. Despite increases in the evidence base, additional population-based and longitudinal investigations are needed concerning the accuracy of predictions and clinical decisions for children with LI.
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