ArticlePDF Available

Young people with specific language impairment: A review of social and emotional functioning in adolescence



This article provides a review of research into the social and emotional functioning of adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI). In particular, we focus on peer relations, peer friendships, bullying, emotional difficulties and psychiatric difficulties. As a group, adolescents with SLI tend to be more vulnerable to problems in these domains than are typical adolescents. However, there is considerable heterogeneity among those with SLI, and some individuals experience positive outcomes. We stress the need to understand adolescence and SLI in a developmental context. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research findings for service provision to support the needs of young people with language impairments.
Child Language Teaching and Therapy
26(2) 105–121
© The Author(s) 2010
Reprints and permission: sagepub.
DOI: 10.1177/0265659010368750
Young people with specific language
impairment: A review of social and
emotional functioning in adolescence
Kevin Durkin
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Gina Conti-Ramsden
The University of Manchester, UK
This article provides a review of research into the social and emotional functioning of adolescents
with specific language impairment (SLI). In particular, we focus on peer relations, peer friendships,
bullying, emotional difficulties and psychiatric difficulties. As a group, adolescents with SLI tend to
be more vulnerable to problems in these domains than are typical adolescents. However, there
is considerable heterogeneity among those with SLI, and some individuals experience positive
outcomes. We stress the need to understand adolescence and SLI in a developmental context.
The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of the research findings for service
provision to support the needs of young people with language impairments.
language in adolescence, social development, social-emotional functioning interview, emotional
regulation, intervention
I Introduction
Language and communication needs are identifiable in toddlers and, where problems or delays
become apparent, they tend to attract concern and treatment (Lindsay and Dockrell, 2004; Conti-
Ramsden et al., 2008). There are many reasons why a child may experience difficulties, but of
particular interest are children who have difficulties with language, i.e. with producing words to
communicate and/or understanding what is said to them, whilst ‘everything else’ appears to be
normal. That ‘everything else’ has traditionally been defined to include adequate input from the
senses: normal hearing and normal/corrected vision. It also includes an adequate biological basis
to develop language (the children have no obvious signs of brain damage) and an adequate basis
Corresponding author:
Kevin Durkin, Department of Psychology, University of Strathclyde, 40 George Street, Glasgow, G1 1QE, UK
106 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
for learning, i.e. their non-verbal abilities as measured by IQ are similar to those of their peers of
the same age. A desire to engage socially is also important: such children seek to interact socially
with adults and peers and as such are not like children with autism who are not as socially engaged.
These children are usually referred to as children with specific language impairment (SLI).
During adolescence the language problems of individuals with SLI are not always easily detect-
able in everyday conversation (Scott and Windsor, 2000; Nippold, 2007), and professional services
are less likely to be available for this age range (Dockrell et al., 2006). With the exception of severe
cases, many adolescents with SLI go unnoticed by the general public. Their language use may be
somewhat ‘shaky’ (Reed, 2005: 169) but the level of attainment of their oral language skills
appears, on the surface, to be adequate for everyday interactions.
Importantly, however, there are several fundamental reasons for attending to the special needs of
adolescents with SLI. First, these are young people with histories of being different. An individual’s
adolescence cannot be understood as wholly distinct from all that has happened during his or her
previous development, just as this crucial phase of life has in turn implications for his or her future
development (Durkin, 1995; Conti-Ramsden et al., 2008). In this review article, we use the term
‘adolescents with SLI’ for simplicity. However, we understand that this term encompasses a variety
of developmental histories. For example, children with SLI can include individuals with persistent
and resolved difficulties (Bishop and Edmundson, 1987). The term can also include those in adoles-
cence who may exhibit learning difficulties (Botting, 2005) or some autistic symptomatology (Conti-
Ramsden et al., 2006). Second, for many adolescents with SLI, language problems are still present,
and the fact that they are not always so readily apparent to others may exacerbate some of the difficul-
ties they occasion. Third, language difficulties tend to be associated, across development, with a
range of other behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, meaning that having SLI may signal the
possibility of other needs. Fourth, there are expanding demands on communicative skills during ado-
lescence, including some (such as peer relations) in spheres that are less accessible to therapists and
educators yet have wide-ranging implications for a young person’s adjustment and well-being.
By definition, young people with SLI are within the normal intelligence range, yet have lan-
guage impairments inconsistent with this (Leonard, 1998). Paradoxically, it is not usually oral
language but other areas of functioning that draw attention to adolescents with SLI in school set-
tings. These young people have associated difficulties with literacy (Dockrell and Lindsay, 1998;
Botting et al., 2006; Catts et al., 2008), and academic achievement (Snowling et al., 2001; Conti-
Ramsden et al., 2009). This comes as no surprise, as language ability is a well-recognized factor in
the development of literacy (St Clair et al., 2010), numeracy (Durkin and Shire, 1991; Donlan et al.,
2007) and other academic skills (Long, 2005; Dockrell et al., 2007). Other aspects of development
are also likely to be affected. Thus, there is a discrepancy between the young person’s broad intel-
lectual capacity and what he or she is able to realize in the classroom. Adolescents with SLI may
adjust to this by setting their sights lower. For example, Durkin et al. (2009b) found that, among
17-year-olds with the same level of relatively low mean examination scores, those with typical
development described themselves as ‘not satisfied’ with their educational achievements, while
those with SLI described themselves as ‘satisfied’. In other domains, it may be more difficult to
reconcile one’s status with one’s needs. For example, as we show below, the adolescent with SLI
may, like any other adolescent, desire to interact with others yet have compromised abilities to
participate in everyday discourse. These conflicts have the potential to cause tensions within the
individual, which may not always be noticed by others.
In this article, we review research into the social and emotional functioning of adolescents with
SLI. In particular, we focus on peer relations and friendships, bullying, emotional and psychiatric
difficulties. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of the research findings for service
provision to support the needs of these individuals.
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 107
II Peer relations and friendship
Peers are a highly salient and motivating feature of the social landscape of most children (Durkin,
1995). From infancy, children pay particular attention to their age mates and enjoy time spent in
joint activities with them. Peers provide a context for social comparison, for exchange of informa-
tion and understanding, and for the rehearsal of practical and social skills. Within peer relations,
friendships are particularly important. Friendships are key markers of the selectivity of interper-
sonal relations, providing social and cognitive scaffolding (Hartup, 1996; Rubin et al., 2009), serv-
ing variously as sources of support and information as well as buffers against many of life’s
problems, with enduring implications for self-esteem and well-being (Hartup and Stevens, 1999).
Children and adolescents without friends, or with poor friendship quality, are at risk of loneliness
and stress (Ladd et al., 1996; Bagwell et al., 2005; Whitehouse et al., 2009a).
Since the early 1990s a body of research on peer relations in children with SLI has shown that,
from at least their preschool days, these children are at a disadvantage. They engage less in active
conversational interactions than do those with typical language, enter less frequently into positive
social interactions, are less sensitive to the initiations offered by others, have poorer discourse
skills, manifest situationally-inappropriate verbal responses, achieve fewer mutual decisions and
are more likely to have their bids to influence others prove unsuccessful (Hadley and Rice, 1991;
Craig, 1993; Craig and Washington, 1993; Grove et al., 1993; Guralnick et al., 1996; Brinton et al.,
1998; Vallance et al., 1999).
Language and communicative abilities are not the only factors that may impede peer relations.
Children with SLI tend also to score lower than typically developing children on a range of mea-
sures of social skills, social cognitive abilities and difficulties in emotional and behavioural self-
regulation (Fujiki et al., 1996; Cohen et al., 1998; Lindsay and Dockrell, 2000; Fujiki et al., 2002;
Marton et al., 2005; Lindsay et al., 2007). They tend to be rated as more withdrawn than age-
matched comparisons (Fujiki et al., 1996; Cohen et al., 1998; Redmond and Rice, 1998; Brinton
and Fujiki, 1999; Fujiki et al., 2001), yet they are at heightened risk of exhibiting externalizing
problems and antisocial conduct disorders (Beitchman et al., 2001; Brownlie et al., 2004; Conti-
Ramsden and Botting, 2004). They are less likely to exhibit skilled prosocial behaviour (Stevens
and Bliss, 1995; Fujiki et al., 1999). Brinton et al. (2000) suggest that language difficulties, social
withdrawal and a lack of prosocial skills are compounded, with the outcome that children find it
difficult to work in collaborative peer groups. Thus, deficits in other fundamental interpersonal
capacities appear to be associated with SLI in childhood.
What, then, of peer relations in adolescence? Peers are especially significant during this phase
of development. Time spent with the family declines, and time spent with peers increases
(Buhrmester, 1996). Reflecting developmental changes, young people strive to satisfy increasingly
complex needs via peer networks and friendships. Adolescents have psychological needs for inti-
macy, shared outlooks and identity formulation (Hartup and Stevens, 1999; Steinberg and Morris,
2001; Kroger, 2006). Experiencing difficulties with peer relations and friendships during child-
hood means that many young people with SLI enter adolescence less equipped and less practised
in the skills needed for this area of life, and quite likely less confident in their abilities.
Importantly, adolescents with SLI are motivated to socialize. In respect of new media use (e.g.
email, texting and instant messaging), for example, they attach as much value to interpersonal
communications as do typically developing age mates (Durkin et al., 2009a). Wadman et al. (2008)
found no difference between a sample of adolescents with SLI and a comparison group of typically
developing peers on the Cheek and Buss (1981) Sociability Scale, which measures preference for
being with others. Example items include: ‘I like to be with people,’ ‘I prefer working with others
rather than alone,’ and ‘I welcome the opportunity to mix socially with people.’ However, while the
108 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
adolescents with SLI were on a par with typically developing adolescents on this instrument, they
scored significantly lower than the typically developing group on a measure of self-esteem and
higher on a measure of shyness. Researchers observing children with SLI have reported that they
often appear to wish to approach others but to be fearful of doing so (Fujiki et al., 2004; Hart et al.,
2004). This ambivalence seems to persist into adolescence.
Furthermore, accumulating evidence confirms that other social and behavioural difficulties,
such as those noted above, are not short-term problems in individuals with SLI. A pattern of social
difficulties is characteristic not only of relatively early peer relations but remains marked through
later childhood and adolescence (Stevens and Bliss, 1995; Brinton et al., 1997; Fujiki et al., 1997;
Brinton et al., 1998; Conti-Ramsden and Botting, 2004; Durkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2007), and
into adulthood (Howlin et al., 2000; Clegg et al., 2005).
In one of our own studies (Durkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2007), we examined friendship quality
in a sample of adolescents with SLI and their typical language development peers whilst they were
attending secondary education, at age 16 years. Participants answered a series of questions regard-
ing friends and acquaintances from the social-emotional functioning interview (SEF-I; Howlin et al.,
2000). These questions included ‘How easy do you find it to get on with other people?’ and ‘If you
were at a party or social gathering, would you try to talk to people you had not met before?’
Possible scores ranged from 0 to 16, with scores closer to zero representing good quality of friend-
ships. The scores of adolescents with SLI ranged from 0 to 14, while adolescents with typical
language development scored between 0 and 2. Overall, as a group, adolescents with SLI were at
risk of poorer quality of friendships.
We then examined predictors of friendships and found that spoken language abilities (expres-
sion and understanding of language) as well as literacy skills (reading) were associated with
friendship quality. But language was not the strongest predictor; these were measures of difficult
behaviour and prosocial behaviour. In the sample as a whole, language and literacy measures
accounted for an additional 7% of variance. Thus, language ability is predictive of adolescents’
friendship quality when other behavioural characteristics known to be influential in peer relations
(problem behaviour, prosocial behaviour) are controlled for, but its overall influence is small.
There was also a small influence of non-verbal IQ. In order of importance, the variables predic-
tive of friendship quality were: difficult behaviour, prosocial behaviour, language and literacy,
and non-verbal IQ.
Between-group differences should not blind us to heterogeneity within groups. Although much
evidence points to difficulties with peer relations in individuals with SLI from childhood to adoles-
cence, it is nonetheless important to take note that there is a range of outcomes. Durkin and
Conti-Ramsden (2007) found that a large proportion of adolescents with SLI reported good quality
of friendships (60%), with 40% experiencing poor friendship quality. We examined the extent to
which early measures of language (at age 7 years) predicted the likelihood of obtaining a good or
poor friendship score at age 16 years. After adjusting for the effect of non-verbal IQ, receptive lan-
guage at 7 years of age was identified as a significant predictive factor for friendship outcome at 16
years of age. Difficulties with receptive language are virtually always accompanied by difficulties
with expressive language (Conti-Ramsden and Botting, 1999). In contrast, expressive difficulties
can occur in the context of adequate language comprehension skills. Thus, the mix of expressive and
receptive problems in some individuals is indicative of a more severe impairment and seems to be
predictive of poor friendship quality in adolescence. This relationship held after controlling for
measures of emotional and behavioural difficulties at 7 years of age. This outcome is consistent with
other research indicating that early language problems are predictive of persistent social difficulties
over the long term (Beitchman et al., 1996; Howlin et al., 2000). Strikingly in our study, for the poor
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 109
friendship group, poor language remained quite stable across a 9-year span, from 7 through to 16
years of age, particularly as indexed by receptive skills.
Why should language ability impact on friendships? Language serves many functions in social
interaction, and there is evidence that it is used in distinctive ways during friendship formation.
Friends spend more time talking to each other than do non-friends, and the nature of friends’ interac-
tions entails greater linguistic reciprocity (Hartup, 1996; Asher and Gazelle, 1999). Difficulties in
respect of language use put individuals at greater risk of poor friendship quality. One possibility
discussed in Durkin and Conti-Ramsden (2007) is that poor language skills that include poor recep-
tive ability are associated with poor theory of mind development, which in turn impacts on social
relationships. The ability to infer others’ perspectives and to appreciate possible differences in
knowledge or beliefs from one’s own may well bear on the development of skills in social selectivity
and on perceived congeniality. However, findings on theory of mind in individuals with SLI have
been mixed. Several studies have found that children with SLI perform as well as typically develop-
ing peers on theory of mind tasks (Leslie and Frith, 1988; Perner et al., 1989; Ziatas et al., 1998). On
the other hand, Clegg et al. (2005) reported that adult participants with SLI performed less well on
more subtle measures of theory of mind than both their non-impaired siblings and a comparison
group of IQ-matched adults without language difficulties. The nature of the relationship between
theory of mind and social adaptation in individuals with SLI remains in need of further investiga-
tion. Relatively little attention has been paid, for example, to the ways in which theory of mind may
intersect with emotional knowledge / emotion understanding. It may be that awareness of others’
feelings and reactions is more pertinent to friendship than is awareness of others’ cognitions per se,
and SLI may impact on this subtle dimension of interpersonal sensitivity.
Further research is needed also to determine whether there is anything distinctive about the
friendships that adolescents with SLI form. For example, some evidence from younger children
with special needs indicates that they are less likely to be favoured as friends by mainstream chil-
dren (Thompson et al., 1994). Hence, it is possible that adolescents with SLI are more likely to
form friendships with other adolescents with SLI, or perhaps adolescents with other learning dis-
abilities. This may be partly because they are more likely to spend time with these peers when
receiving support for special educational needs (Simkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2009), and partly
because they may share the consequences of being marginalized in their broader peer community.
Forming friendships with others with special needs is not necessarily problematic in itself.
However, the evidence reviewed above establishes that individuals with SLI are, on average, at
greater risk of manifesting problem behaviour, including aggression, and are less likely to display
prosocial behaviour. Hence, clusters of adolescents with these difficulties may have their individ-
ual problems compounded. Research with conduct-disordered and delinquent adolescents indi-
cates that association with deviant peers is prognostic of higher levels of adolescent problem
behaviour (Dishion et al., 2004; Carroll et al., 2009). Of course, we are not proposing that this is
an inevitable route for adolescents with SLI, many of whom will establish satisfactory peer rela-
tions and most of whom will not enter trajectories towards serious antisocial or delinquent behav-
iour. Nevertheless, there are disproportionate numbers of individuals with SLI among those in
serious trouble at school and in delinquent services (see below). Entry to antisocial peer groups is
a risk for some young people with SLI in some circumstances, and this underscores the need for
research into the needs of young people with SLI that goes beyond psycholinguistic and cognitive
concerns to encompass their social and emotional development.
From the above discussion, there are two key messages we would like to emphasize. On the one
hand, it is important to bear in mind that language problems are not a guarantee of social problems
(Brinton and Fujiki, 2002). Indeed, although social difficulties may distinguish individuals with
110 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
SLI from their typical peers, they are not usually in the clinical range (Redmond and Rice, 1998;
Botting and Conti-Ramsden, 2000; Wadman et al., 2008). Young people with SLI are heteroge-
neous in terms of their language characteristics, and this also holds true for their social abilities,
with some individuals achieving high levels of peer popularity (Fujiki et al., 1999; Brinton and
Fujiki, 2002). In the study by Durkin and Conti-Ramsden (2007) involving a large sample, a very
positive finding is that some 60% of adolescents with SLI reported good friendship quality. While
better language ability contributes part of the explanation of these favourable outcomes, it is clear
that other factors are involved and possible that strengths in one or more of these can mitigate any
effects due to impaired language. Prosocial behaviour, for example, can compensate for other char-
acteristics of individuals with SLI. Discomforts and breakdowns in communication may be toler-
ated by peers in the context of outward helpfulness and cooperativeness. These data discussed
above provide carers and professionals with the reassuring news that successful peer relations and
friendships are indeed possible for adolescents with SLI.
On the other hand, however, a significant proportion of adolescents with SLI have difficulties
in establishing and maintaining positive peer relations and friendships. These young people are
likely to exhibit more behavioural difficulties, less prosocial behaviours and poorer language skills
(Durkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2007). In the context of conduct difficulties and other manifest prob-
lems, relative impoverishment of friendship development may be less salient for carers, therapists
and teachers (Conti-Ramsden and Botting, 2004). There are also some indications that these ado-
lescents may have poorer emotional regulation (Fujiki et al., 2002) as well as lower self-esteem
(Jerome et al., 2002; Wadman et al., 2008). This constellation of needs of a proportion of adoles-
cents with SLI is likely to require multidisciplinary professional intervention and support through-
out secondary schooling and beyond.
III Bullying
The term ‘bullying’ is used to describe the abuse of power with the intent to physically or emotion-
ally harm an individual (Rigby, 2002). The term bullying implies repetition: it has to happen more
than once. Bullying can take many forms, such as teasing and name-calling (verbal bullying), hit-
ting or pushing (physical bullying), intimidation through social exclusion or threats (emotional
bullying), and writing offensive messages via the use of new media (cyber-bullying).
Developmentally, verbal, physical and emotional bullying appears to decrease over time from
childhood through to adolescence. Nonetheless, the transition to secondary education appears to
present particular challenges to young people. A number of researchers have observed that the
incidence of bullying in educational settings appears to peak upon entry to secondary education
(Pellegrini and Long, 2002; Pepler et al., 2006).
Individuals with SLI, just as other groups of young people starting secondary education, are
thus at the highest risk of being bullied and victimized. However, the risk of being bullied is con-
siderably higher for individuals with a variety of special needs and disabilities. For example, indi-
viduals with learning disabilities appear to be at a greater risk of physical bullying (Mishna, 2003).
Individuals with conditions that affect their appearance such as Down syndrome, cleft palate or
cerebral palsy are more likely to suffer from verbal bullying (Dawkins, 1996; Nash et al., 2001). In
the case of individuals with language and communication difficulties perhaps the highest incidence
of bullying occurs in young people who stammer. Over 80% of adults who stammer report being
bullied in school (Hugh-Jones and Smith, 1999). For those young people with less obvious lan-
guage impairments, the small but growing research literature suggests that they are also at increased
risk of being bullied. Savage (2005) found that at secondary school entry (11 years of age), young
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 111
people attending a speech and language resource attached to a mainstream school were 3 times
more likely to experience bullying than their mainstream peers. We had similar findings in our own
studies. Conti-Ramsden and Botting (2004) found that 36% of a sample of 11 year olds with SLI
reported being bullied. This figure was 12% for their typical language development age peers. This
was the case regardless of whether young people were attending mainstream education or special
educational contexts (Knox and Conti-Ramsden, 2003). Incidents involved physical, verbal and
emotional bullying such as being kicked or hit, being told they would be beaten up, or being threat-
ened for money.
In a recent study, Knox and Conti-Ramsden (2007) examined bullying developmentally whilst
young people were attending secondary education. These authors examined reports of current bul-
lying at age 16 years as well as earlier bullying experiences (retrospective report). As found in
other studies, the incidence of bullying decreased throughout adolescence. By age 16, young peo-
ple with SLI were still more likely to experience bullying but the percentage had decreased to 17%
(from earlier figures of over a third of individuals). In line with existing research, the decrease in
bullying experience was also apparent for young people with typical language development (Pepler
et al., 2006). However, we also found that 13% of young people with SLI had experienced bullying
that persisted throughout their secondary schooling. This percentage was considerably greater than
that of their age peers (2.4%). It is reasonable to assume that the negative impact of bullying (see
below) may be compounded in cases of long-term bullying.
What are the factors that make young people with SLI more likely to experience bullying?
Interestingly, level of language ability as measured by language and literacy assessments do not
appear to contribute significantly to the risk of being bullied (Knox and Conti-Ramsden, 2003).
Thus, it appears that other co-existing difficulties of young people with SLI contribute to the ele-
vated vulnerability of this group as a whole and not severity of language impairments per se. Smith
(2004) reviews correlates of victims of bullying in 205 studies and finds that poor friendship qual-
ity, low number of friends, and low peer acceptance/higher peer rejection are the strongest factors
associated with being bullied. This evidence – when considered in association with the research on
friendships and peer relations in young people with SLI reviewed in the section above – provides
strong evidence for the role of quality of friendships and peer relations in developing our under-
standing of who may be at a higher risk of being bullied among young people with SLI.
We would like to draw attention to the fact that sometimes young people who are bullied are also
bullies themselves, and individuals with special needs are no exception (Whitney et al., 1992;
Unnever and Cornell, 2003). Individuals who are bullied in school may in turn bully weaker or
younger students. These young people not only require support as victims, but also in changing their
aggressive behaviours towards others. To our knowledge there is no research addressing the engage-
ment in bullying behaviours by individuals with SLI. This is an area where future research could
provide information that would be relevant for the management and support of these young people.
Experiencing bullying is likely to have negative impacts. It is known that victims of bullying
suffer from emotional sequelae such as higher psychosomatic and psychosocial problems, i.e. not
sleeping well, bed-wetting, feeling sad, and experiencing headaches and stomach aches (Williams
et al., 1996; Fekkes et al., 2006). Victims also have an increased likelihood of depression (Hawker
and Boulton, 1996) as well as other psychiatric difficulties including elevated levels of anxiety
(Kaltiala-Heino et al., 2000; Roland, 2002; McCabe et al., 2003; Knox and Conti-Ramsden, 2007).
There are individual differences in terms of how well children cope with bullying, and one of the
effective strategies can be to seek social support (Boyle and Hunter, 2004). The poignant reality for
adolescents with SLI is, as discussed above, that they may have lower social skills, experience
higher levels of shyness and feel less comfortable in approaching others. The means of coping
112 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
through seeking social support may therefore be less readily available to them. The area of psychi-
atric difficulties in individuals with SLI is reviewed more fully below. However, it is clear that
educators and professionals working with these young people not only need to be alert with regard
to the incidence of bullying (both as victims and potentially as bullies) but also with the associated
difficulties that bullying experiences may bring for these individuals.
IV Emotional and psychiatric difficulties
There have been a handful of studies examining quality of life and psychiatric outcomes in young
people with SLI (Cantwell and Baker, 1987; Beitchman et al., 2001; Clegg et al., 2005; Ripley and
Yuill, 2005; Whitehouse et al., 2009b). Beitchman et al. followed up a group of young people with
SLI from 5 to 19 years of age and assessed them throughout this period for the presence of possible
psychiatric difficulties. Individuals with SLI were found to be at greater risk of having attention
deficit hyperactivity disorders or ADHD (Beitchman et al., 1996) and later had higher rates of anxi-
ety disorders (Beitchman et al., 2001), aggressive behaviour (Brownlie et al., 2004) and substance
abuse (Beitchman et al., 2001). Clegg et al. (2005) followed a cohort of children from 4 years of
age to mid adulthood and found greater risk of psychiatric impairment (compared to both peers and
siblings), particularly concerning depression, social anxiety and schizoform/personality disorders.
Whitehouse et al. (2009b) also found evidence of social and emotional difficulties during adult-
hood in their sample of individuals with a history of childhood language disorders. Working with
boys who had been permanently excluded from school, Ripley and Yuill (2005) found that expres-
sive language problems were associated with high levels of emotional symptoms. In a sample of
15 adolescent boys who were at risk of permanent exclusion, Clegg et al. (2009) found that two
thirds had language difficulties, although specific associations between types of language impair-
ment and types of emotional and behaviour problems were less clear than in Ripley and Yuill’s
sample. Other studies have examined language in populations referred primarily for psychiatric
difficulties. Cohen et al. (1998), for example, found a higher than expected rate of undiagnosed
language impairment (40%) in their clinical sample.
This area is complicated because measures of mental health and emotional well-being are them-
selves typically verbal and sometimes quite demanding of language skills (Zeman et al., 2007).
The implications for the study of young people with SLI call for careful attention. On the one hand,
there is a risk of a confound in assessment when participants have lower language abilities as this
could lead to an exaggerated estimate of differences between SLI groups and typical development
groups. On the other hand, when interview or story-telling techniques are exploited as part of a
diagnostic or research context, there is a risk of underestimating difficulties, because less verbal
individuals might be less proficient in disclosing emotional concerns and/or relating complex event
structures (Wetherell et al., 2007). A review of 10 years of research in the area found strong evi-
dence that language impairments were often not picked up by child and adolescent mental-health
teams or professionals working with psychiatric disorders (Toppelberg and Shapiro, 2000). At the
very least, there is a need for researcher/practitioner awareness of the language abilities of adoles-
cents whom they are assessing in clinical settings.
It needs to be noted, nonetheless, that SLI is heterogeneous in nature and present a variety of
profiles of impairment and severity (Conti-Ramsden, 2008). Snowling et al. (2006), for example,
did not find evidence of a higher risk of psychiatric disorders. Their sample included a significant
proportion of young people who had resolved their language impairments following a diagnosis
at 5 years of age. Interestingly, when examining those with resolved SLI separately from those
with persistent SLI, it was evident that those with resolved SLI had good psychiatric outcomes.
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 113
In contrast, those with SLI beyond 5 years of age exhibited a higher risk of psychiatric morbidity
in adolescence. In particular, Snowling et al. found that more individuals with SLI experienced
problems with attention (e.g. attention deficit/hyperactive disorder) as well as psychosocial
adjustment (e.g. social phobia).
In the same vein, Conti-Ramsden and Botting (2008) found a clear increased risk for psychiatric
disorders such as anxiety and depression in adolescents with SLI even when concurrent levels of
language and cognitive abilities were controlled for. In addition, the proportion of adolescents
scoring above the clinical threshold in these areas was larger in the group with SLI when compared
to their typical language development age peers for both anxiety (12% vs. 2%) and depression
(39% vs. 14%). This finding replicates other studies that have shown raised prevalence of psychi-
atric difficulties in those with SLI (e.g. Clegg et al., 2005) or increased incidence of SLI in children
referred psychiatrically (e.g. Cohen et al., 1998) and reviews affirming the association (Toppelberg
and Shapiro, 2000). Beitchman et al. (2001) in particular found anxiety increased in a similar
cohort of young people with SLI at 19 years of age.
Conti-Ramsden and Botting (2008) also found that the typical gender difference protecting boys
from internalizing psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression was not evident in adoles-
cents with SLI. Thus, increased risk of anxiety and depression appears to affect males and females
relatively equally in those with SLI. This was not the case for participants with typical language
development. For these young people, the typical gender difference was observed whereby females
are more prone to internalizing psychiatric disorders than males in adolescence. Thus gender may
not be a predictive factor for individuals with SLI.
Another issue raised by the Conti-Ramsden and Botting (2008) study is that, apart from the fact
that those with SLI had increased internalizing psychiatric symptoms in the form of anxiety and
depression, surprisingly few clear associations existed with language abilities. Their results sug-
gest that there were virtually no associations between level of language ability and the develop-
ment of anxiety and depression in adolescence. Examination of early factors suggested that those
with emotional problems at 7 years of age also show increased anxiety at 16 years of age. Earlier
language, though, showed remarkably few associations. Thus, level of language was not a predic-
tor of anxiety and depression in adolescents with SLI. This is similar to the findings of Clegg et al.
(2005), who also failed to find a clear relationship between the two. Literacy difficulties were also
unrelated, ruling out academic attainment as a potential direct cause.
The lack of association with early language scores also makes it more difficult to interpret the
relationship between having poor language and internalizing psychiatric difficulties as a directly
developmentally causal one. Having ongoing poor communicative experiences does not appear to
‘make you’ increasingly depressed or anxious per se. Cohen et al. (2000) examined groups with
language impairments, psychiatric disorder or both and showed that specific cognitive difficulties
such as executive function, memory abilities and visual-motor integration were most marked in the
last of these groups. Although Conti-Ramsden and Botting (2008) found no association between
general non-verbal IQ (early and concurrent) and internalizing psychiatric disorders, specific cog-
nitive difficulties have been linked with both language impairment (Ellis-Weismer et al., 1999) and
with depression (Fossati et al., 1999). More sensitive measures of cognitive skills may have
revealed a connection in these studies.
In addition, there are at least two important factors to consider: support available and self-help.
First, the level of social support individuals with SLI may receive at home and at school is likely
to be influential. From the review in the first section of this article, we know that some individuals
with SLI have poor friendships and peer relations and thus may lack a key element of support in
their lives. Less is known about the types of support young people with SLI have at home during
114 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
adolescence. What we do know is that although parents may find raising an individual with SLI
rewarding this process can oftentimes be demanding and stressful (Glidden and Schoolcraft, 2007;
Conti-Ramsden et al., 2008). There is also a body of literature showing that having a child with SLI
predicts higher rates of anxiety and depression in parents (Veisson, 1999; Ollson and Hwang,
2001). We also know that social deprivation and poverty lead to poor conditions including hunger,
overcrowding, and unsafe neighbourhoods and schools. These factors are likely to impact on the
well-being of individuals and their ability to provide support for children and adolescents with SLI.
Furthermore, the lack of resources associated with low socio-economic status is itself a risk factor
for individuals developing both language problems and emotional/behavioural difficulties
(Roseberry-McKibbin, 2007). By no means all young people with SLI grow up at economic disad-
vantage, but those who do may be at compounded risk.
Second, how young people see themselves and whether they have been able to compensate
for their language and related difficulties in some ways may be important. For example, adoles-
cents may develop a policy of ‘letting others do the talking’ while still actively seeking to partici-
pate in social activities/interactions (versus opting for withdrawal). In addition, the types of
experiences they have had may also influence adolescents’ vulnerability to anxiety and/or
depression. From the data reviewed in Section II of this article, we know that negative experi-
ences – for example, whether or not an individual has been bullied in school – are likely to play
a role (Knox and Conti-Ramsden, 2007). What is clear is that social and emotional functioning
are interwoven with other developmental and environmental processes in adolescence and that
together these contribute to the complex and heterogeneous outcomes of young people with SLI.
What is also clear is the need for support for these individuals. The data reviewed in this article
echo the work of Maughan (1995) with young people with reading difficulties. Like Maughan,
we suggest that guidance and support at important transition points in the lives of young people
may be amongst the most important contributions that carers and professionals can make to these
individuals during adolescence.
V Implications for service provision
At present, there appears to be no cohesive, integrated approach to service provision for individu-
als with SLI during adolescence (Nash et al., 2001; Dockrell et al., 2006). Much of what is avail-
able focuses on preschool and early school-age children and there are fewer services available and
fewer professionals working at secondary school level (Reed, 2005; Dockrell et al., 2006).
‘Prevention’ is a key buzzword, and the aim is to avoid or at least ameliorate the likely academic,
social and emotional sequelae of SLI. In a recent UK government report (Bercow, 2008) there was
clear emphasis on the need for a continuum of services and joint working across professional
groups and agencies (including schools and health services) in planning and delivering support for
children and young people with SLI. Although the report gives priority to early identification and
intervention, there was a welcome recognition that older children and adolescents also require sup-
port, that they deserve a continuum of services, and that this is likely to require joint working
across professional groups and organizations.
The evidence reviewed above emphasizes the need to raise awareness and develop the breadth
and depth of service provision for adolescents with SLI. In this respect there is much work yet to
be done. From the point of view of the speech and language therapy profession there is a dearth of
information with regard to both assessment tools and intervention frameworks for SLI during ado-
lescence. There are a limited number of standardized and criterion-referenced assessment tools for
language, let alone for other areas of functioning (e.g. social and emotional functioning) which
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 115
take into consideration the potential difficulties that young people with SLI may present during
assessment. There is also a paucity of information about what intervention strategies are appropri-
ate for different types of difficulties at this later stage of development. Altogether, it may be fair to
say that speech and language therapists feel ill-equipped to tackle the needs of adolescents with
SLI in secondary education.
There are signs of progress, nonetheless. In a recent initiative, the Nuffield Foundation has
funded research specifically aimed at developing intervention strategies for adolescents with SLI
(Victoria Joffe, principal investigator; The Nuffield Foundation, 2006). In addition, in 2009, the
Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists supported the development of a national special
interest group on older children and young adults with developmental speech, language and com-
munication needs. This group is open to a variety of individuals with an interest in older children
and young people, including speech and language therapists, teaching assistants, support staff,
teachers, youth workers, mental-health workers, academics, young people with language and com-
munication difficulties themselves, and the young people’s parents and families. This initiative has
built joint working across professional groups as well as key stakeholders right from the start. It
also has the potential to be an important vehicle for liaising across organizations, as well as raising
awareness of the needs of individuals with SLI. From the work reviewed above, for example, it
follows that speech and language therapists should be working in close collaboration with counsel-
ling, community medicine, educational psychologists and child and adolescent mental-health
teams. Professionals in the field report that this still does not happen enough in practice, although
this is particularly important when we are working with adolescents due to the complexity of dif-
ficulties these individuals are likely to present with. Ideally, speech and language therapists should
be part of the relevant teams. In particular, we are aware of the need for closer working relation-
ships between child and adolescent mental-health teams and speech and language therapists. As
mentioned earlier, there is a need to raise awareness amongst professionals of the possible associa-
tions of SLI with social, emotional and psychiatric difficulties. As part of the team, speech and
language therapists can facilitate this process. Speech and language therapists can inform relevant
professionals how to manage and support individuals with SLI, i.e. in the assessment of their
developmental history (which should include language abilities), the assessment of their social,
emotional and psychiatric difficulties and – very importantly in considering the efficacy of any
verbally mediated therapy they may use as part of their intervention strategies. This closer collab-
orative approach could also have benefits for speech and language therapists. Speech and language
therapists may gain a more holistic view of the young person’s abilities and the factors beyond dif-
ficulties with language that may be affecting his or her well-being.
We have stressed here that the period of adolescence of people with SLI needs to be viewed in
a developmental context: we should not overlook the implications of their experiences as children,
nor the demands that will be placed on them as adults. Adolescence is a period of change, with
consequences for how the young person thinks of himself or herself, and how he or she relates to
others and to the broader society. During this crucial life transition, individuals with SLI are likely
to be in need of support in a variety of areas of functioning. Speech and language therapists face
many challenges in meeting these needs and in coordinating with educators and other profession-
als. Importantly, they have the opportunity to be key advocates for these young people who are not
always in a position to be able to speak for themselves.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the Nuffield Foundation (grants AT 251 [OD], DIR/28 and
EDU 8366) and the Wellcome Trust (grant 060774); they also acknowledge the support of the Economic and
116 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
Social Research Council (ESRC) for a fellowship to Gina Conti-Ramsden (RES-063-27-0066). We would
also like to thank the young people and their families who have taken part in our studies over many years.
Asher SR and Gazelle H (1999) Loneliness, peer relations, and language disorder in childhood. Topics in
Language Disorders 19: 16–33.
Bagwell CL, Bender SE, Andreassi CL, et al. (2005) Friendship quality and perceived relationship changes
predict psychosocial adjustment in early adulthood. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 22:
Beitchman JH, Wilson B, Brownlie EB, et al. (1996) Long-term consistency in speech/language profiles, II:
Behavioral, emotional, and social outcomes. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry 35: 815–25.
Beitchman JH, Wilson B, Johnson CJ, et al. (2001) Fourteen-year follow-up of speech/language-impaired
and control children: Psychiatric outcome. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent
Psychiatry 40: 75–82.
Bercow J (2008) The Bercow report: A review of services for children and young people (0–19) with speech,
language and communication needs. Nottingham: DCSF Publications. Retrieved from http://www.dcsf. (March 2010).
Bishop DVM and Edmundson A (1987) Language-impaired four-year-olds: Distinguishing transient from
persistent impairment. Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders 52: 156–73.
Botting N (2005) Non-verbal cognitive developmental and language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology
and Psychiatry 46: 317–26.
Botting N and Conti-Ramsden G (2000) Social and behavioural difficulties in children with language impair-
ment. Child Language, Teaching and Therapy 16: 105–20.
Botting N, Simkin Z and Conti-Ramsden G (2006) Associated reading skills in children with a history of
specific language impairment (SLI). Reading and Writing 19: 77–98.
Boyle J and Hunter S (2004) Appraisal and coping strategy use in victims of school bullying. British Journal
of Educational Psychology 74: 83–107.
Brinton B and Fujiki M (1999) Social interactional behaviors of children with specific language impairment.
Topics in Language Disorders 19: 46–69.
Brinton B and Fujiki M (2002) Social development in children with specific language impairment and pro-
found hearing loss. In: Smith PK and Hart CH (eds) Blackwell handbook of childhood social development.
Malden, MA, Blackwell, 588–603.
Brinton B, Fujiki M and Higbee LM (1998) Participation in cooperative learning activities by children with
specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 41: 1193–1206.
Brinton B, Fujiki M and McKee L (1998) Negotiation skills of children with specific language impairment.
Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 41: 927–40.
Brinton B, Fujiki M, Montague EC and Hanton JL (2000) Children with language impairment in cooperative
work groups: A pilot study. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 31: 252–64.
Brinton B, Fujiki M, Spencer JC and Robinson LA (1997) The ability of children with specific language
impairment to access and participate in an ongoing interaction. Journal of Speech Language and Hearing
Research 40, 1011–25.
Brownlie EB, Beitchman JH, Escobar M, et al. (2004) Early language impairment and young adult delinquent
and aggressive behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 32: 453–67.
Buhrmester D (1996) Need fulfillment, interpersonal competence and the developmental contexts of early
adolescent friendship. In: Bukowski WM, Newcomb AF and Hartup WW (eds) The company they keep:
Friendship in childhood and adolescence. New York: Cambridge University Press, 158–85.
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 117
Cantwell DP and Baker L (1987) Clinical significance of childhood communication disorders: Perspectives
from a longitudinal study. Journal of Child Neurology 2: 257–64.
Carroll AM, Houghton SJ, Durkin K and Hattie J (2009) Adolescent reputations and risk: Developmental
trajectories to delinquency. New York, Springer.
Catts HW, Bridges MS, Little TD and Tomblin JB (2008) Reading achievement growth in children with
language impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 51: 1569–79.
Cheek JM and Buss AH (1981) Shyness and sociability. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology
41: 330–39.
Clegg J, Hollis C, Mawhood L and Rutter M (2005) Developmental language disorders: A follow-up in later
adult life: Cognitive, language and psychosocial outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
46: 128–49.
Clegg J, Stackhouse J, Finch K, Murphy C and Nicholls S (2009) Language abilities of secondary age pupils
at risk of school exclusion: A preliminary report. Child Language Teaching and Therapy 25: 123–39.
Cohen NJ, Barwick M, Horodezky N, Vallance DD and Im N (1998) Language, achievement, and cogni-
tive processing in psychiatrically disturbed children with previously identified and unsuspected language
impairments. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 36: 865–78.
Cohen NJ, Vallance DD, Barwick M, Im N, Menna R, Horodezky NB and Isaacson L (2000) The interface
between ADHD and language impairment: An examination of language, achievement, and cognitive pro-
cessing. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 41: 353–62.
Conti-Ramsden G (2008) Heterogeneity of specific language impairment in adolescent outcomes. In: Norbury C,
Tomblin B and Bishop DVM (eds) Understanding developmental language disorders in children: From theory
to practice. Hove: Psychology Press, 119–33.
Conti-Ramsden G and Botting N (1999) Characteristics of children attending language units in England:
A national study of 7-year-olds. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
34: 359–66.
Conti-Ramsden G and Botting N (2004) Social difficulties and victimisation in children with SLI at 11 years
of age. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 47: 145–61.
Conti-Ramsden G, Simkin Z and Botting N (2006) The prevalence of autistic spectrum disorders in adoles-
cents with a history of specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
47: 621–28.
Conti-Ramsden G and Botting N (2008) Emotional health in adolescents with and without a history of spe-
cific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 49: 516–25.
Conti-Ramsden G, Botting N and Durkin K (2008) Parental perspectives during the transition to adulthood
of adolescents with a history of specific language impairment (SLI). Journal of Speech, Language and
Hearing Research 51: 84–96.
Conti-Ramsden G, Durkin K, Simkin Z and Knox E (2009) Specific language impairment and school out-
comes, I: Identifying and explaining variability at the end of compulsory education. International Journal
of Language and Communication Disorders 44: 15–35.
Craig HK (1993) Social skills of children with specific language impairment: peer relationships. Language,
Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 24: 206–15.
Craig HK and Washington JA (1993) Access behaviors of children with specific language impairment. Journal
of Speech and Hearing Research 36: 322–37.
Dawkins JL (1996) Bullying, physical disability and the paediatric patient. Developmental Medicine and
Child Neurology 38: 603–12.
Dishion TJ, Nelson SE, Bullock BM and Winter CE (2004) Adolescent friendship as a dynamic system:
entropy and deviance in the etiology and course of male antisocial behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child
Psychology 104: 104–13.
118 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
Dockrell JE and Lindsay G (1998) The ways in which children’s speech and language difficulties impact on
access to the curriculum. Child Language Teaching and Therapy 14: 117–33.
Dockrell JE, Lindsay G, Letchford B and Mackie C (2006) Educational provision for children with specific
speech and language difficulties: Perspectives of speech and language therapy managers. International
Journal of Language and Communication Disorders 41: 423–40.
Dockrell JE, Lindsay G, Palikara O and Cullen M-A (2007) Raising the achievements of children and young
people with specific speech and language difficulties and other special educational needs through school
to work and college. London: Department for Education and Skills.
Donlan C, Cowan R, Newton EJ and Lloyd D (2007) The role of language in mathematical development:
Evidence from children with specific language impairment. Cognition 103: 23–33.
Durkin K (1995) Developmental social psychology. Oxford: Blackwell.
Durkin K and Conti-Ramsden G (2007) Language, social behavior, and the quality of friendships in adoles-
cents with and without a history of specific language impairment. Child Development 78: 1441–57.
Durkin K and Shire B (1991) Language in mathematical education: Research and practice. Milton Keynes:
Open University Press.
Durkin K, Conti-Ramsden G, Walker A and Simkin Z (2009a) Educational and interpersonal uses of home
computers by adolescents with and without specific language impairment (SLI). British Journal of
Developmental Psychology 27: 197–217.
Durkin K, Simkin Z, Knox E and Conti-Ramsden G (2009b) Specific language impairment and school out-
comes, II: Educational context, student satisfaction, and post-compulsory progress. International Journal
of Language and Communication Disorders 44: 36–55.
Ellis-Weismer S, Evans J and Hesketh LJ (1999) An examination of verbal working memory capacity in
children with specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 42:
Fekkes M, Pijpers FIM, Fredriks AM, Vogels T and Verloove-Vanhorick SP (2006) Do bullied children get ill,
or do ill children get bullied? A prospective cohort study on the relationship between bullying and health-
related symptoms. Pediatrics 117: 1568–74.
Fossati P, Amar G, Raoux N, Ergis AM and Allilaire JF (1999) Executive functioning and verbal memory in
young patients with unipolar depression and schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research 89: 171–87.
Fujiki M, Brinton B and Clarke D (2002) Emotion regulation in children with specific language impairment.
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools 33: 102–11.
Fujiki M, Brinton B, Isaacson T and Summers C (2001) Social behaviors of children with language impair-
ment on the playground: A pilot study. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 32: 101–13.
Fujiki M, Brinton B, Morgan M and Hart CH (1999) Withdrawn and sociable behaviour of children with
language impairment. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 30: 183–95.
Fujiki M, Brinton B, Robinson L and Watson V (1997) The ability of children with specific language impair-
ment to participate in a group decision task. Journal of Childhood Communication Development 18: 1–10.
Fujiki M, Brinton B and Todd CM (1996) Social skills of children with specific language impairment.
Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools 27: 195–202.
Fujiki M, Spackman MP, Brinton B and Hall A (2004) The relationship of language and emotion regula-
tion skills to reticence in children with specific language impairment. Language, Speech, and Hearing
Services in Schools 27: 195–202.
Glidden LM and Schoolcraft SA (2007) Family assessment and social support. In: Jacobson JW and Mulick
JA (eds) Handbook of intellectual and developmental disabilities. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum,
Grove J, Conti-Ramsden G and Donlan C (1993) Conversational interaction and decision-making in children
with specific language impairment. European Journal of Disorders of Communication 28: 141–52.
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 119
Guralnick MJ, Connor RT, Hammond MA, Gottman JM and Kinnish K (1996) The peer relations of preschool
children with communication disorders. Child Development 67: 471–89.
Hadley PA and Rice ML (1991) Conversational responsiveness of speech- and language-impaired preschool-
ers. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 34: 1308–17.
Hart KL, Fujiki M, Brinton B and Hart CH (2004) The relationship between social behavior and severity of
language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research 47: 647–62.
Hartup WW (1996) The company they keep: friendships and their developmental significance. Child
Development 67: 1–13.
Hartup WW and Stevens N (1999) Friendships and adaptation across the lifespan. Current Directions in
Psychological Science 8: 76–79.
Hawker DSJ and Boulton MJ (1996) Twenty years’ research on peer victimisation and psychosocial malad-
justment: A meta-analytic review of cross-sectional studies. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
41: 441–55.
Howlin P, Mawhood L and Rutter M (2000) Autism and developmental receptive language disorder: A follow-
up comparison in early adult life; II: Social, behavioural, and psychiatric outcomes. Journal of Child
Psychology and Psychiatry 41: 561–78.
Hugh-Jones S and Smith PK (1999) Self-reports of short- and long-term effects of bullying on children who
stammer. British Journal of Educational Psychology 69: 141–58.
Jerome A, Fujiki M, Brinton B and James S (2002) Self-esteem in children with specific language impair-
ment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 45: 700–14.
Kaltiala-Heino R, Rimpela M, Rantanen P and Rimpela A (2000) Bullying at school: An indicator of adoles-
cents at risk for mental disorders. Journal of Adolescence 23: 661–74.
Knox E and Conti-Ramsden G (2003) Bullying risks of 11-year-old children with specific language impair-
ment (SLI): Does school placement matter? International Journal of Language and Communication
Disorders 38: 1–12.
Knox E and Conti-Ramsden G (2007) Bullying in young people with a history of specific language impair-
ment (SLI). Educational and Child Psychology 24: 130–41.
Kroger J (2006) Identity development: Adolescence through adulthood. 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA:
Ladd GW, Kochenderfer BJ and Coleman CC (1996) Friendship quality as a predictor of young children’s
early school adjustment. Child Development 67: 1103–18.
Leonard LB (1998) Children with specific language impairment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Leslie AM and Frith U (1988) Autistic children’s understanding of seeing, knowing and believing. British
Journal of Developmental Psychology 6: 315–24.
Lindsay G and Dockrell J (2000) The behaviour and self-esteem of children with specific speech and language
difficulties. British Journal of Educational Psychology 70: 583–601.
Lindsay G and Dockrell JE (2004) Whose job is it? Parents’ concerns about the needs of their children with
language problems. Journal of Special Education 37: 225–35.
Lindsay G, Dockrell J and Strand S (2007) Longitudinal patterns of behaviour problems in children with
specific speech and language difficulties: child and contextual factors. British Journal of Educational
Psychology 77: 811–28.
Long SH (2005) Language and children with learning disabilities. In: Reed VA (ed,) An introduction to chil-
dren with language disorders. 3rd edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 132–67.
Marton K, Abramoff B and Rosenzweig S (2005) Social cognition and language in children with specific
language impairment (SLI). Journal of Communication Disorders 38: 143–62.
Maughan B (1995) Annotation: long-term outcomes of developmental reading problems. Journal of Child
Psychology and Psychiatry 36: 357–71.
120 Child Language Teaching and Therapy 26(2)
McCabe R, Anthony MM, Summerfeldt LJ, Liss A and Swinson RP (2003) Preliminary examination of
the relationship between anxiety disorders in adults and self-reported history of teasing or bullying
experiences. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy 32: 187–93.
Mishna F (2003) Learning disabilities and bullying: Double jeopardy. Journal of Learning Disabilities
36: 336–47.
Nash P, Stengelhofen J, Toombs L, Brown J and Kellow B (2001) National survey of children aged 8–18
years with persisting communication problems associated with cleft palate. Child Language Teaching
and Therapy 17: 19–34.
Nippold M (2007) Later language development: School-age children, adolescents, and young adults. Austin,
TX, Pro-Ed.
Ollson MB and Hwang CP (2001) Depression in mothers and fathers of children with intellectual disability.
Journal of Intellectual Disability Research 45: 535–43.
Pellegrini AD and Long JD (2002) A longitudinal study of bullying, dominance, and victimisation during the
transition from primary school through secondary school. British Journal of Developmental Psychology
20: 259–80.
Pepler DJ, Craig WM, Connolly JA, et al. (2006) A developmental perspective on bullying. Aggressive
Behaviour 32: 376–84.
Perner J, Frith U, Leslie AM and Leekam SR (1989) Exploration of the autistic child’s theory of mind:
Knowledge, belief, and communication. Child Development 60: 689–700.
Redmond SM and Rice ML (1998) The socioemotional behaviors of children with SLI: social adaptation or
social deviance? Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 41: 688–700.
Reed VA (2005) Adolescents with language impairment. In: Reed VA (ed.) An introduction to children with
language disorders. 3rd edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 168–219.
Rigby K (2002) New perspectives on bullying. London: Jessica Kingsley.
Ripley K and Yuill N (2005) Patterns of language impairment and behaviour in boys excluded from school.
British Journal of Educational Psychology 75: 37–50.
Roland E (2002) Bullying, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Educational Research 44: 55–67.
Roseberry-McKibbin C (2007) Language disorders in children: A multicultural and case perspective. Boston,
MA: Pearson Education.
Rubin KH (2009) Handbook of peer interactions, relationships, and groups. New York, Guildford Press.
Savage R (2005) Friendship and bullying patterns in children attending a language base in a mainstream
school. Educational Psychology in Practice 21: 23–36.
Scott CM and Windsor J (2000) General language performance measures in spoken and written narrative
and expository discourse of school-age children with language learning disabilities. Journal of Speech,
Language and Hearing Research 43: 324–39.
Simkin Z and Conti-Ramsden G (2009) ‘I went to a language unit’: Adolescents’ views on specialist educa-
tional provision and their language difficulties. Child Language Teaching and Therapy 25: 103–21.
Smith PK (2004) Bullying: recent developments. Child Adolescent Mental Health 9: 98–103.
Snowling MJ, Adams JW, Bishop DVM and Stothard SE (2001) Educational attainments of school leavers with a
preschool history of speech–language impairments. International Journal of Language and Communication
Disorders 36: 173–83.
Snowling MJ, Bishop DVM, Stothard SE, Chipchase B and Kaplan C (2006) Psychosocial outcomes at 15
years of children with a preschool history of speech–language impairment. Journal of Child Psychology
and Psychiatry 47: 759–65.
St Clair M, Durkin K, Conti-Ramsden G and Pickles A (2010) Growth of reading skills in children with a
history of specific language impairment (SLI): The role of autistic symptomatology and language related
abilities. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 28: 109–31.
Durkin and Conti-Ramsden 121
Steinberg L and Morris AS (2001) Adolescent development. Annual Review of Psychology 52: 83–110.
Stevens LJ and Bliss LS (1995) Conflict resolution abilities of children with specific language impairment
and children with normal language. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research 38: 599–611.
The Nuffield Foundation (2006) Enhancing Language and Communicationin Secondary Schools (ELCISS).
Information Retrieved from (March 2010).
Thompson D, Whitney I and Smith PK (1994) Bullying of children with special needs in mainstream schools.
Support for Learning 9: 103–06.
Toppelberg CO and Shapiro T (2000) Language disorders: A 10-year research update review. Journal of the
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry 39: 143–52.
Unnever JD and Cornell DG (2003) Bullying, self-control, and ADHD. Journal of Interpersonal Violence
18: 129–47.
Vallance DD, Im N and Cohen NJ (1999) Discourse deficits associated with psychiatric disorders and with
language impairments in children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
40: 693–705.
Veisson M (1999) Depression symptoms and emotional states in parents of disabled and non-disabled chil-
dren. Social Behavior and Personality 27: 87–98.
Wadman R, Durkin K and Conti-Ramsden G (2008) Self-esteem, shyness and sociability in adolescents with
specific language impairment. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research 51: 938–52.
Wetherell D, Botting N and Conti-Ramsden G (2007) Narrative in adolescent specific language impairment
(SLI): a comparison with peers across two different narrative genres. International Journal of Language
and Communication Disorders, 42, 583–605.
Whitney I, Nabuzoka D and Smith PK (1992) Bullying in schools: mainstream and special needs. Support
for Learning 7: 3–7.
Whitehouse AJ, Durkin K, Jaquet E and Ziatas K (2009a) Friendship, loneliness and depression in adolescents
with Asperger’s Syndrome. Journal of Adolescence 2: 309–22.
Whitehouse AJ, Watt HJ, Line EA and Bishop DVM (2009b) Adult psychosocial outcomes in children with
specific language impairment, pragmatic language impairment and autism. International Journal of
Language and Communication Disorders 44: 511–28.
Williams K, Chambers M, Logan S and Robinson D (1996) Association of common health symptoms with
bullying in primary school children. British Medical Journal 313: 17–19.
Zeman J, Klimes-Dougan B, Cassano M and Adrian M (2007) Measurement issues in emotion research with
children and adolescents. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 4: 377–401.
Ziatas K, Durkin K and Pratt C (1998) Belief term development in children with autism, Asperger Syndrome,
specific language impairment, and normal development: Links to theory of mind development. Journal of
Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines 39: 755–63.
... In fact, there are relatively few language development studies of people with DLD after grade school. There is a sizable amount of work on educational and social outcomes in teens and adults with DLD (e.g., Durkin & Conti-Ramsden, 2010;Conti-Ramsden et al., 2018), but much less on linguistic attainment, and the majority, if not all, focus on monolingual English speakers. One could ask, what the target grammar is for a person with DLD? ...
Full-text available
In this chapter we present current issues on experimental methods in the study of atypical language development with a focus on developmental language disorders (DLD). We first present a short history of terminology surrounding DLD and follow this with a discussion of critical topics related to DLD assessment including cross-linguistic research, multilingualism, persisting disorders in teenagers, age-differences (pre-school, school age, adolescence, and adults) in manifestations and domains studied, language comprehension versus production, and cognitive assessment. We also bring focus to the question of matching control groups in the study of atypical language development. We present the most common methods used in the investigation of language impairments from the behavioural and neurocognitive perspectives. We provide an overview of the issues related to establishing equivalence between groups with and without language impairments. We conclude with recommendations for practice and future directions in the study of atypical language development. 3
... Risks include lower academic performance (e.g., Conti-Ramsden et al., 2009) and lower post-school employment rates (Conti-Ramsden & Durkin et al., 2012). In addition, young persons with DLD have increased risk of psychiatric problems, for example, anxiety and depression (Beitchman et al., 2001), and difficulties in establishing and maintaining relations with friends (Durkin & Conti-Ramsden, 2010). Moreover, despite being one of the most common developmental conditions, general knowledge and awareness of DLD is limited in society (Thordardottir & Topbas, 2021). ...
Full-text available
Background: The risks of developmental language disorder (DLD) for both educational progress and socio-emotional development are well documented, but little is known about how children and young people with DLD experience and describe their language and communication. The need to complement experimental and quantitative studies with qualitative perspectives of the lived experience of individuals with DLD for speech and language therapists (SLT) practice has recently been foregrounded. Aims: To understand further the experiences of young people with DLD focusing on language and communication in a school context, and thereby contribute to the improvement of the communicative situation in school for this group. The study is guided by the following research question: How do young people diagnosed with DLD describe their experiences of language and communication in school? Methods & procedures: The study is based on data generated from qualitative semi-structured interviews with 23 participants diagnosed with DLD (age 13-19 years old) living in Sweden. All participants attended mainstream schools. To enable data to be collected during COVID-19 restrictions, all interviews were conducted using Zoom. Reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Outcomes & results: Four main themes related to experiences of language and communication in school were constructed from the interviews: (1) feelings of inadequacy and comparisons with others; (2) feelings of being misjudged and misunderstood; (3) the importance of feeling safe and comfortable; and (4) the significance of the social and communicative context. The results bear witness of difficult and challenging aspects related to language and communication in school, including educational, social and emotional dimensions. An important outcome of this study is how young people diagnosed with DLD describe their language and communication functioning to be dependent on both individual characteristics and abilities, as well as situational, contextual and social factors. Conclusions & implications: The results from this study show that young people with DLD can have persisting problems related to language and communication in school, including educational, social and emotional dimensions. SLT services may therefore be needed throughout the school years to ensure that students with DLD receive adequate support. In addition, support that goes beyond language abilities and targets social, contextual and emotional aspects should be considered. What this paper adds: What is already known on this subject Children and young people have unique knowledge about their language and communication which is instrumental for designing interventions and support strategies. Qualitative analyses of interview data have been able to identify both risk factors and protective strategies in relation to the well-being of individuals with DLD. Despite this, children and young people with DLD are rarely heard in research or clinical discussions. What this paper adds to existing knowledge In this study we listen to the voices of young people with DLD as they describe their experiences of language and communication in school. The participants describe a condition that makes them struggle to keep up with peers and puts them at risk of being misjudged by teachers, but also give examples of situations where negative consequences are hardly felt. What are the potential or actual clinical implications of this work? DLD is a complex and dynamic disorder where contextual and social factors interact with individual abilities in creating the end result. The results of the study indicate that DLD can cause persisting problems related to language and communication in school, with impact on educational, social and emotional dimensions. To counteract these effects, SLT services may be needed throughout the school years, and support that goes beyond language abilities must be considered.
... Results supported this hypothesis and speci ed the difference to individual sub-domains. This study highlights social anxiety and separation anxiety as speci c targets for intervention; also characteristic of typically developing children of this age, though at lower rates (100). Most other literature has focussed on 'emotional di culties' (10,11,101) or, more recently, 'internalising symptoms' (e.g. ...
Full-text available
Background It is well-documented that children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) experience socio-emotional difficulties. Despite this, there is little consensus as to how these difficulties manifest. This study aims to understand their prevalence, and inform intervention development by understanding the relationships between them. Methods A mixed-methods, case-control study was conducted. First, an online survey was completed by 107 parents of either children with DLD (‘DLD sample’; n = 57), or typically developing children (‘typical sample’; n = 50), aged 6–12 years old. The online survey comprised of standardised psychosocial measures, binary psychosocial statements (generated from previous qualitative work) and both family stress and coping mechanisms. Two separate mediation models were run to understand the underlying mechanisms behind (1) anxiety, and (2) social frustration; separate correlation analyses were used to determine the relationships between other psychosocial and familial variables. Qualitative interviews were then carried out with a small subset of the survey respondents (n = 4). Results The DLD sample scored significantly higher on all psychosocial statements than the typical sample. Experiencing anxiety (80.7%, p < 0.05), requiring routine and sameness (75.4%, p < 0.001) and emotional dysregulation (75.4%; p < 0.001) were the most common difficulties for children with DLD. Family stress and coping mechanisms only correlated with the manifestation of psychosocial difficulties in the typical group, not the DLD group. ‘Intolerance of uncertainty’ was found to fully mediate the relationship between DLD diagnosis and symptoms of anxiety. Emotion regulation was found to moderately mediate the relationship between DLD diagnosis and social frustration. Conclusions Parents appear to cope well with their children’s complex psychosocial needs. Intervention focussing on intolerance of uncertainty and emotion dysregulation may help the management of psychosocial difficulties. Further research is needed to understand the children’s preference for routine.
... Los trastornos del lenguaje en la infancia son unos de los más frecuentes y, a veces, muy alarmantes, dado que constituyen un problema de especial preocupación para los padres y el entorno habitual de los niños (Mendoza Lara, 2016 (Catts et al., 2002;Conti-Ramsden, et al., 2008;Durkin y Conti-Ramsden, 2010;Fujiki et al., 2004;St. Clair et al., 2011). ...
Full-text available
La presente investigación aborda cuestiones relativas a la adquisición del género gramatical en niños hispanohablantes y rusohablantes diagnosticados con Trastorno Evolutivo del Lenguaje (TEL). En concreto, el objetivo del estudio es averiguar si existen diferencias cuantitativas y cualitativas en el uso del género gramatical entre los niños con TEL y aquellos que siguen el desarrollo típico del lenguaje (DT). Con este propósito,hemos elaborado y administrado una tarea de producción elicitada a 111 niños monolingües de dos lenguas tipológicamente distintas, el español y el ruso. Los resultados retratan que, en cuanto al uso del género gramatical, existen diferencias significativas entre los niños con DT y con TEL, tanto en español como en ruso. Del mismo modo, nuestro análisis corrobora que, en líneas generales, el patrón de asignación del género gramatical que utilizan los niños hispanohablantes y rusohablantes es semejante. En conclusión, sugerimos que las futuras investigaciones amplíen la muestra, sobre todo, en lo relativo a diferentes edades de la población con TEL. Igualmente, sería productivo diseñar un programa de intervención logopédica centrado en el refuerzo en las tareas de asignación y de concordancia en el género gramatical para su empleo en las terapias del lenguaje. _____________________________________________________________________________________ This research addresses the acquisition of grammatical gender in Spanish and Russian-speaking children diagnosed with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Specifically, the aim of this study is to explore whether there are quantitative and qualitative differences in grammatical gender use between DLD children and children with typical language development (TLD). To this end, 111 monolingual children of two typologically different languages, Spanish and Russian, were tested via an elicited production task. Our findings show that, referring to the grammatical gender use, there are significant differences between TLD and DLD children, in both Spanish and Russian. Furthermore, our analysis shows that, generally, the pattern of gender assignment used by Spanish and Russian-speaking children is similar. In conclusion, we suggest that future research extends the sample of DLD participants, especially concerning different age groups. Additionally, it would be convenient to design intervention strategies focused on the reinforcement of grammatical gender assignment and agreement, so they can be used in language and speech therapies.
... While there has been debate about how to profile children who have unexplained difficulties in their spoken language development (Bishop, 2014), there is agreement that early identification and appropriate intervention is essential (Bercow, 2008). As for other groups with developmental language disorder (formerly known as specific language impairment) (Durkin & Conti-Ramsden, 2010), for DHH children with such problems there is the added impact of language deprivation, resulting from limited language exposure in many families. Language deprivation arises from difficulties establishing communication within families, either because parents use spoken language which their DHH child cannot easily access, or due to a lack of f luent sign language models as a consequence of parents' limited signing skills leading to long-term effects on children's mental health and well-being (Gentili & Holwell, 2011). ...
Full-text available
Deaf professionals, whom we term Deaf Language Specialists (DLS), are frequently employed to work with children and young people who have difficulties learning sign language, but there are few accounts of this work in the literature. Through questionnaires and focus groups, 23 DLSs described their work in this area. Deductive thematic analysis was used to identify how this compared to the work of professionals (typically Speech and Language Therapists/Pathologists, SLPs) working with hearing children with difficulties learning spoken language. Inductive thematic analysis resulted in the identification of two additional themes: while many practices by DLSs are similar to those of SLPs working with hearing children, a lack of training, information, and resources hampers their work; additionally, the cultural context of language and deafness makes this a complex and demanding area of work. These findings add to the limited literature on providing language interventions in the signed modality with clinical implications for meeting the needs of deaf and hard-of-hearing children who do not achieve expectations of learning a first language in their early years. The use of these initial results in two further study phases to co-deliver interventions and co-produce training for DLSs is briefly described.
... One of these problems is that adolescents with DLD tend to demonstrate more difficulties in social-emotional functioning than their typically developing (hereafter: TD) peers (3)(4)(5)(6). While these difficulties already occur in preschool children with DLD, they seem to increase into adolescence (7). The increased problems in social emotional functioning in adolescents with DLD underscore the need for an intervention method to improve their social-emotional functioning. ...
Full-text available
Adolescents with Developmental Language Disorders (DLD) have more difficulties in social emotional functioning than their typically developing peers (TD), such as shyness and anxiety in social situations, fewer peer relations, greater risk of victimization, social isolation and depression. In addition, they are more likely to report higher levels of hyperactivity and conduct problems. These problems derive from a complex interplay between difficulties in language, social communication, underlying cognitive deficits in Theory of Mind (ToM), Executive Functioning (EF) and self-directed speech (SDS). The aim of this mini review is to provide an overview of studies examining the effectiveness of interventions targeting the factors underlying social emotional functioning of school-aged children and adolescents with DLD. We found that studies dedicated to social emotional functioning in school-aged children and adolescents with DLD were relatively scarce. Based on this overview, we give suggestions to improve social emotional functioning in adolescents with DLD. We propose that intervention programs should target the social, linguistic and cognitive functions underlying social emotional functioning and create opportunities to practice these skills in daily, real-life situations with peers.
... Delays in language development are an area of particular concern due to their influence on reading skills and subsequent academic and social development in childhood and throughout adolescence (Durkin and Conti-Ramsden, 2010;Prior et al., 2011;Young et al., 2002). Children's pathways to reading proficiency have been associated with a number of potentially correlated language building blocks including phonological processing (Kibby et al., 2014;Sprugevica and Høien, 2004), listening comprehension and word decoding (García and Cain, 2014;Lervåg et al., 2018), and semantic working memory (Florit et al., 2009;Nouwens et al., 2017;Sprugevica and Høien, 2004). ...
Objective Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) has been associated with small but significant effects on language development in childhood and early adolescence. This study examined whether this association persists into later adolescence and what relationship language skills may have with reading proficiency in this population. Methods Enrolled were 338 (167 with PCE, 171 with NCE or no cocaine exposure) 17-year-olds recruited at birth who, together with their current caregiver, were seen as part of a 17-year follow-up. Participants were given assessments of reading achievement (WIAT-III), receptive and expressive language (CELF-IV), and phonological processing (CTOPP). Relationships between PCE status and language outcomes were modeled using multiple linear regression controlling for environmental and caregiver factors, and other prenatal substance exposures. Results Adolescents with PCE scored lower in areas of phonological processing and reading related skills compared to adolescents with NCE. PCE by sex interactions were identified on language, memory and spoken language comprehension, with lower scores for girls with PCE compared to girls with NCE. Conclusion These findings suggest the persistence of PCE's relationship with phonological awareness well into adolescence. PCE was also associated with lower scores on measures of skills related to reading ability, which may be a manifestation of the observed deficits in phonological processing.
... Studies that used an outcome measure for communicative participation or a related construct that had not previously been published, and was not included in the study itself, were excluded. Psychosocial outcomes such as bullying, emotional difficulties and psychiatric difficulties were not included in this review, as they are usually not directly targeted in speech and language therapy and have been reviewed elsewhere (Durkin & Conti-Ramsden, 2010). ...
Full-text available
Background: Variations in communicative participation of children with developmental language disorder (DLD) cannot be wholly explained by their language difficulties alone and may be influenced by contextual factors. Contextual factors may support or hinder communicative participation in children, which makes their identification clinically relevant. Aims: To investigate which contextual (environmental and personal) factors in early childhood are protective, risk or neutral factors for communicative participation among school-aged children with DLD, and to identify possible gaps in knowledge about this subject. Methods & Procedures: A scoping review was conducted based on a systematic search of studies published from January 2007 to March 2022 in Pubmed, Embase (without MEDLINE), CINAHL and PsycINFO. In total, 8802 studies were reviewed using predefined eligibility criteria, of which 32 studies were included for data extraction and critically appraised using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (2021) tools. Main Contribution: The methodological quality of included studies was adequate to strong. Personal protective factors identified are being a preschool girl, reaching school age and being prosocial, while personal risk factors are becoming a teenager or adolescent, having low socio-cognitive skills and experiencing comorbid mobility impairment o rbehavioural problems. Gender after the preschool years and non-verbal abilities were not found to be of influence, andtheroleofsocio-emotional skills is inconclusive. Receiving therapy is anenvironmental protective factor, while the association between socio-economical family characteristics with communicative participation is inconclusive. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2022 The Authors. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
Full-text available
Marilyn A Nippold, Ph.D., is internationally recognized for her scholarship in later language development. Her research serves as the foundation for understanding the protracted course of language development in school-age children, adolescents, and young adults, and for recognizing the difficulties that young people sometimes encounter in attaining linguistic proficiency. A Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) and an Endowed Professor, Dr. Nippold has taught in the Communication Disorders and Sciences program at the University of Oregon for over 20 years. She has published two books and 70 articles and chapters, and has made over 100 presentations at state, national, and international conferences. Dr. Nippold's recent research projects have examined morphological analysis, figurative language comprehension, literacy, and spoken and written language development in school-age children, adolescents, and adults. She also has conducted crosscultural and crosslinguistic studies of later language development with colleagues in New Zealand, Australia, and Israel.
Full-text available
In a prospective, longitudinal study, 87 language-impaired children were assessed at the ages of 4, 4½, and 5½ years on a battery of language measures. In 37% of children, who were termed the "good outcome group," the language disorder had resolved by the age of 5½ years so that children were indistinguishable from a control group. If one restricted consideration only to those 68 children whose nonverbal ability was within normal limits, the figure rose to 44%. Outcome for individual children (good or poor) could be predicted with 90% accuracy on the basis of test measures obtained at 4 years. The best predictor was ability to tell back a simple story to pictures. The one language measure that did not relate to outcome was phonological competence.
The news of teenagers and even younger children committing ever more serious and violent crimes continues to shock and baffle. The escalating psychological and social toll of youth crime is being paid by all – from victims to offenders to parents and siblings to teachers and to the community as a whole. Adolescent Reputations and Risk looks beyond traditional theories to examine, from a solid empirical basis, the motivation and values that make some young people choose antisocial over positive behavior, resulting in potent new insights and possible solutions to this ongoing problem. Synthesizing 15 years of research with delinquent youth, this volume describes the volatile dynamic of child and adolescent social worlds, emphasizing reputation enhancement and goal-setting as bases underlying deviant behavior. In innovative and accessible terms, Adolescent Reputations and Risk: • Addresses delinquency throughout the course of childhood and adolescence. • Offers the first detailed explanation of delinquency by integrating goal-setting and reputation enhancement theories. • Provides evidence analyzing deviant trends in goal-setting and reputation enhancement terms among primary and high school students. • Answers key questions on topics such as impulsivity, drug and inhalant use, early-childhood psychopathy, links between ADHD and aggression, and the psychology of loners. • Includes current data on interventions for at-risk youth, including family and school methods, cognitive-behavioral therapy, wilderness and boot camp programs, and interactive multimedia strategies. This volume is an essential resource for clinical child, school, and counseling psychologists; social workers; and allied education and community mental health professionals and practitioners.
Dynamic assessment (DA) has been advocated as an alternative and/or supplemental approach to traditional standardized testing with children who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD). However, there is great variability across DA methods and applications, as well as limited information concerning which methods and procedures may be best suited to differentiate language disorder from difference. In this tutorial, DA methods are compared with respect to their assessment applications. Next, an assessment protocol recommended for the identification of language disorder versus difference is described. Finally, examples of two Spanish-English bilingual children are used to show how the protocol may be useful to assess children's language-learning potential and to minimize misdiagnosis.
The study investigated the bullying experiences of a population of 139 young people with specific language impairment (SLI) and a comparison group of 124 typically developing (TD) young people, both currently at 16 years and retrospectively. The majority of young people in each participant group did not report being teased or bullied currently, but the incidence of teasing or bullying was around 10 per cent higher in the SLI group (17.3 per cent) as compared to the TD group (7.2 per cent). Almost half (44.2 per cent) of the SLI group recall being teased or bullied when they were younger, compared with under a quarter (22.6 per cent) of the TD group and 13 per cent of the SLI group were found to have experienced persisting bullying across time. Behavioural/social-emotional problems were found to predict the likelihood of young people with SLI being bullied, while measures of IQ, language, literacy, friendship and prosocial ability were found to have no significant predictive effect. Current bullying in the SLI group was found to be significantly correlated with anxiety and depression symptoms. The fact that young people with SLI experience an increased vulnerability of being bullied is discussed, together with the implications for their mental health.
Purpose: This pilot study examined the social behaviors of children with language impairment (LI) and their typical peers on the playground. Method: Eight children with LI and their age-matched peers were videotape recorded for 45 minutes during morning and lunch recesses. Samples were divided into 5-second segments and coded according to the child's behavior occurring during the segment. The behavior displayed during each interval was then coded into one of 37 subcategories. These subcategories were grouped into six general categories of (a) peer interaction, (b) adult interaction, (c) withdrawal, (d) aggression, (e) victimization, and (f) other. Results: Significant differences were observed in the categories of peer interaction and withdrawal. Typical children spent significantly more time interacting with peers than did children with LI. Conversely, children with LI demonstrated significantly more withdrawn behaviors than did their typical peers. Analyses of effect size using ω2 indicated that group membership accounted for approximately 30% of the variability in both of these types of playground behavior. No other significant differences were observed. These findings support the conclusions of researchers using teacher interview procedures, indicating that children with LI are more withdrawn than their typical peers at school. Clinical implications: Specific intervention targeting social language skills in playground contexts may be warranted to include children with LI in social interactions at recess.
Purpose: The purpose of this preliminary study was to determine if emotion regulation warrants investigation as a factor influencing social outcomes in children with specific language impairment (SLI). Emotion regulation was evaluated in children with SLI and their typically developing peers. Method: Teachers were asked to rate the emotion regulation behaviors of 41 children with SLI and 41 typical peers using the "Emotion Regulation Checklist" (ERC, Shields & Cicchetti, 1997; 1998). Children were sampled from two age levels (6-9 years and 10-13 years). At each age level, equal numbers of boys and girls were sampled. Results: As a group, children with SLI received significantly lower ratings than typical children. In addition, girls produced higher scores than boys. None of the other interactions was significant. Scores on the two subscales of the ERC, labeled as lability/negativity and emotion regulation, were then examined to further delineate performance. Boys with SLI had notably lower ratings than all the other groups on the emotion regulation subscale. Clinical implications: Emotion regulation warrants further research to determine if it is associated with specific social outcomes in children with SLI.