Theories of Language Learning and Children with Specific Language Impairment

  • Laurence B. Leonard


“Specific language impairment” (SLI) is a term applied to children who show significant deficits in language learning ability but age-appropriate scores on non-verbal tests of intelligence, normal hearing, and no clear evidence of neurological impairment. Children who meet this definition are not identical in their characteristics, though some linguistic profiles are rather common. Boys outnumber girls, with a ratio of approximately 2.8 to 1 (Robinson, 1987). At age five years, the prevalence of SLI might be as high as 7% (Tomblin, 1996). This percentage is probably lower at older ages, due to the fact that some proportion of children with milder language difficulties achieve normal levels of ability within a few years, often with the help of intervention.


Language Learning Specific Language Impairment Lexical Item Impaired Child Language Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurence B. Leonard
    • 1
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityWest LafayetteIndiana

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