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Adolescent Language Disorders

Most adolescents with language impairment were children with the impairment. Language impairment accompanies many childhood disabilities, such as intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, and hearing loss. The language difficulties these children exhibit are typically readily apparent. But the most commonly occurring language impairment of children occurs in the absence of obvious co-occurring conditions—that is, without accompanying conditions known to disrupt language learning (e.g., intellectual disability, hearing loss). An often-used name for this language impairment is specific language impairment (SLI), although terms such as developmental language disorder or developmental dysphasia are sometimes used. This entry describes the difficulties that children with SLI have in school and discusses the outcomes of childhood SLI in adolescence. It also reviews assessment of and interventions for SLI.

SLI and Learning Difficulties

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