JCPSLP - March 2018

Developmental Language Disorder

From the guest editor Mary Claessen

I n the past few years there has been lots of discussion about developmental language disorder (DLD), previously known as specific language impairment (SLI). In 2014, a special issue of the International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders on SLI, challenged researchers and clinicians worldwide to think more carefully about the terminology used to describe language disorder, as well as issues around diagnosis. The position papers by Bishop (2014) and Reilly, Tobin, Law et al. (2014), the accompanying commentaries from around the world, and the final overview by Reilly, Bishop and Tomblin (2014) acknowledged the mixed views prevalent in clinical and research communities but emphasised the desire for common language around diagnostic criteria and terminology that would work for services, families and individuals. Their call for an international, multidisciplinary panel to develop consistent terminology was realised in CATALISE: A Multinational and Multidisciplinary DELPHI Consensus Study. Phase 1 yielded consensus statements regarding identification of children needing specialist language intervention (Bishop, Snowling, Thompson, Greenhalgh, & CATALISE Consortium, 2016), while phase 2 (Bishop, Snowlin, Thompson, Greenhalgh & the CATALISE-2 consortium, 2017) explored termiological issues and utimately offered the terms “Language Disorder… to refer to a profile of difficulties that causes functional impairment in everyday life and is associated with poor prognosis” (p. 1068) and the term “Developmental Language Disorder (DLD)… when the languagege disorder was not associated with a known biomedical aetiology” (p. 1068). This volume of Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech- Language Pathology is an exciting opportunity to explore and share what is happening in this domain within Australia. While in many states of Australia children with developmental language disorder attend mainstream schools, in both Western Australia and Queensland, there are schools that cater specifically for children with DLD. The two papers on the topic of DLD included in this issue, begin to address the clinical applications and implications of the newly proposed terminology and diagnostic criteria within these settings, as well as the ongoing challenge of demonstrating effectiveness of intervention. The paper by Calder, Wells, Glisson, Stirling and Claessen provides some insight into how clinicians working within a Language Development Centre (a publically funded primary school for children with DLD) are tackling the challenge of demonstrating effectiveness of intervention for individual children when programs are implemented with class groups. They describe how they have used Systematic Analysis of Language Samples (SALT) to measure the progress of both individuals and groups (class or school) as well as to identify future goals of intervention. Ziegenfusz, Coughlan, Paynter, Simpson and Westerveld continue the theme of demonstrating effectiveness of intervention for children with DLD with their retrospective analysis of the language outcomes of children who had attended a language specialist school over a ten-year period. Given the amount of change in the area of DLD in recent times, the “Around the journals” column may be of

particular interest. This column, by Emily Dawes, provides a summary of some recent key publications in the area, including the work by Bishop and colleagues and the CATALISE Consortium. The “What’s the evidence” column by Natalie Munro and Cori Williams, considers the impact of nonverbal IQ on response to intervention in children with DLD. As you read through this column there are references to a number of recent key journal articles in the area of DLD, a number of which are free open access. The column also highlights the role for all of us in building the evidence for our intervention, beginning with single subject case studies with individual clients, and also the importance of clinicians and researchers working together to build our body of evidence. This issue also includes two “Ethical conversations” columns on the theme of DLD submitted by the Speech Pathology Australia Ethics Board. Both these columns address the topic of diagnosis. The column by Donna Dancer, describes the experience of seeking diagnosis from the perspective of the concerned parent, and the impact speech-language pathologists can have on the families we work with. The column by Leitão, Baker and Nayton focuses on the impact diagnosis has on young people in upper high school. Leitão et al., use a case study to highlight how different diagnoses can lead to different considerations being available to students in their exams in upper high school. The discrepancies described remind us of the role we have in advocating for our clients at different points in time. As usual, our other columns give clinicians the opportunity to share new resources as well as old favourites; so do make sure to take the time to read these. References Bishop, D. V. M. (2014). Ten questions about terminology for children with unexplained language problems. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders , 49 , 381–415. Bishop D.V.M., Snowling, M.J., Thompson, P.A., Greenhalgh, T., & CATALISE consortium (2016). CATALISE: A multinational and multidisciplinary Delphi consensus study. Identifying language impairments in children. PLoS ONE , 11 (7). e0158753. Bishop, D. V.M., Snowling, M. J., Thompson, P. A., Greenhalgh, T., & the CATALISE-2 consortium (2017). Phase 2 of CATALISE: A multinational and multidisciplinary Delphi consensus study of problems with language development: Terminology. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry , 58 , 1068–1080. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12721 Reilly, S., Tomblin, B., Law, J., McKean, C., Mensah, F., Morgan … & Wake, M. (2014). SLI: A convenient label for whom? International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders , 49 , 416–451. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12102 Reilly, S., Bishop, D. V. M, and Tomblin, B. (2014). Terminological debate over language impairment in children: forward movement and sticking points. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders , 49 , 452–562. doi: 10.1111/1460-6984.12111

Mary Claessen


JCPSLP Volume 20, Number 1 2018

Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology

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