Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Parents, has your child got Specific Language Impairment?



Parents and families of children and young people with Specific Language Impairment (SLI)
now have access to the first comprehensive guide on SLI, officially launched today by
I CAN, the children’s communication charity, and Afasic.
Commissioned by The Communication Trust, as part of the Hello campaign, the SLI
Handbook aims to provide a clear and concise guide on SLI, to help identify and support
children with this ‘invisible’ difficulty. Endorsed by Jean Gross, the Government’s
Communication Champion, this handbook will help both parents and practitioners to better
understand the issue, find practical ways to support children and young people with SLI and
signpost to further support.
About 7% of all children and young people have SLI, and are often as intelligent, able and
healthy as other children, except they have enormous difficulty talking and understanding
language. SLI is not caused by any known neurological, sensory, intellectual or emotional
difficulty, so many children and young people across the UK have needs that may be missed
or misdiagnosed. SLI is a very broad term, with some children having mild problems that are
short-lived, with others having severe and persistent difficulties with both understanding and
talking.
The SLI Handbook uses clear language and illustrations to ensure it is accessible to parents
and professionals who will encounter children with these needs. This will include: teachers,
TAs, SENCOs, Educational Psychologists, SLTs, Paediatricians and Occupational
Therapists.
Mandy Grist, I CAN Communication Advisor and SLI Handbook author, said, “Parents and
practitioners often tell us there isn’t one place to find comprehensive information about SLI.
The Bercow Review of Services for Children and Young People with Speech, Language and
Communication Needs (SLCN) in 2008 found that 77% of parents did not get the information
and support that they needed when they needed it. SLI is often misunderstood and ‘invisible’ as children try to hide their difficulties by imitating others or their frustrations come out
through negative behaviour. Finally, families and practitioners can use this handbook to help
identify, understand and support these children and young people so they can live life to the
full and achieve their potential.”
Linda Lascelles, Afasic Chief Executive, said, “At the heart of the Hello campaign is
supporting children and families affected by speech, language and communication
difficulties, including SLI.  7% of all children struggle in school and throughout their lives with
this ‘invisible’ difficulty. The SLI Handbook is an essential resource to empower parents and
families by providing them with easy to understand information on SLI. The SLI Handbook
was written by I CAN and Afasic with parents specifically in mind, and will give them
accessible information and useful guidance from the first instance when their child’s needs
are identified, through to accessing the right services and how to support children throughout
their education.”
A parent of child with SLI, said, “The handbook explains SLI clearly and in an easy to
understand way.  We found it very difficult to get any information when our child was
diagnosed, especially a clear explanation of SLI. This is a really helpful booklet and will
definitely be very useful and informative to other parents.”

For more information, interviews and pictures, please contact Emma Selim (Press and PR Officer)

eselim@ican.org.uk or 0207 843 254

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