Specific language impairment (SLI) is a condition in which a child’s language development is deficient despite showing normal development in all other areas. New research, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, attempts to identify the cause behind this affliction.
Factors such as poor parenting, subtle brain damage or hearing loss have previously been regarded as the cause behind SLI. The findings indicate, however, that these factors are far less important than genetics, specifically, an unidentified combination of defective genes, when determining risk and that no single cause can account for all cases.
“As a greater understanding of the issues and their causes becomes apparent, more effective interventions can be devised; tailoring treatments to an individual child’s specific, underlying problems,” says Dr. Dorothy Bishop, author of the study.
Research into this condition is helping scientists unravel the mystery behind how genetics contribute to the development of language.