Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairment

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An average of one child in every classroom has a Specific Language Impairment (sometimes called Language Disorder).

Specific Language Impairment leads to difficulties with understanding and/or using spoken language, as well as difficulties with reading and spelling.

Last year, some concerned academics and a speech pathologist in the UK launched the absolutely wonderful Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairment campaign, or RALLI, on YouTube.

I urge everyone to have a look at their short, easy-to-understand, informative videos, whether you're a parent, someone who struggles with language yourself, a professional, an academic or anyone else concerned about those with language and literacy difficulties.

Introduction to RALLI

Click here for more information about what Specific Language Impairment is, who is behind the campaign, and what it's all about.

RALLI for kids

Click here to listen to learners with Specific Language Impairment talk about what it's like, and give encouragement to others with difficulties like theirs.

RALLI for families

Click here for videos designed for families that explain what a language impairment is, the impact it can have and how to get help.

There's also a video about how Speech and Language Therapy helps children with Specific Language Impairment. Click here to see it.

There's also one specifically about the literacy difficulties associated with SLI, which you can see by clicking here.

RALLI for professionals

Click here for videos about identification of Specific Language Impairment, and about how it affects learners in the classroom, told by professionals, and children themselves. You will also find relevant evidence-based research information.

This channel also includes several videos in languages other than English about Specific Language Impairment.

I hope that you'll help spread the word about this sorely-needed YouTube campaign, and thus help (as the wonderful Professor Dorothy Bishop, one of the key people behind RALLI, says) inform others about Specific Language Impairment, and help children affected by it to get wider recognition and more help, and a better chance in life.


3 thoughts on “Raising Awareness of Language Learning Impairment

  1. Dorothy Bishop (@deevybee)

    Thanks so much for your support, Alison. Much appreciated.

    Please note: SLI is 'specific' langauge impairment, not 'severe'. In fact, it can be quite mild but still have significant impact on the child!

    1. alison Post author

      Ah yes, sorry, international terminology boundaries are messing with my head. Here in Melbourne our schools' Program for Students with Disabilities used to have a category called Severe Language Disorder, shortened to SLD, but I worked in London schools in 1998-9, got into Stackhouse and Wells etc, so do know that in the UK term the S stands for Specific not Severe.

      Unfortunately even children with Severe Specific Language Impairment here now only get additional support at school if their language is 3 Standard Deviations below the Mean AND they have what are called "Critical Educational Needs", a very poorly-defined concept which seems in practice to mean that they are attacking classmates, in trouble with the police, having psychotic episodes, getting lost during excursions or unable to independently go to the toilet or do up buttons or shoelaces.

      So in practice kids with Severe SLI are being left to rot in classrooms, and you're absolutely right that it's Speech Pathologists who are most knowledgeable and concerned about this issue, but we're a female-dominated profession with little political clout. However I'm hoping that we can get our acts together and work with parents to change this.


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