Questions and Answers
Question #25


Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers


Question # 25

Is there a role for Speech/Language Pathologists in NLD identification and intervention?

Short answer: Yes. The Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) can be very helpful in the identification of--and interventions for--youngsters with NLD.

SLPs are well aware of the distinctions between and among the dimensions of form, content, and function/pragmatics in language. Such distinctions are crucial to the identification of persons with NLD (see Question #5). When the SLP identifies a child as exhibiting good to superior language form, very poor language content, and significantly impaired language function/pragmatics, it would be very appropriate to initiate a referral for a comprehensive neuropsychological assessment to determine if the primary, secondary, and tertiary assets of NLD (see NLD Content and Dynamics) are also in evidence. Should this be the case, any number of interventions, including those of the SLP, can proceed with the benefits provided by this context.

The SLP is most likely to encounter a child with NLD because the youngster is exhibiting enunciatory dyspraxia. Although usually mild in degree, discerning parents and professionals are likely to note this and ask for consultation with the SLP. The only potential (and very rare) downside to this is that the child may be treated only for this minor problem whilst the major difficulties of NLD are ignored/unexamined and, hence, not the subject of much needed (early) intervention.

The implications for the SLP are that the child's deficits in the content and pragmatics of LANGUAGE should form an integral and major focus of the treatment programme. The provision of advice to parents, teachers, and other professionals on ways and means to increase content (meaningfulness) and the appropriate (pragmatic) use of language are crucial if the child is to make appreciable gains in these areas. Those who are knowledgeable about the manifestations of NLD in children are of one mind re these issues: that is, left untreated, children will not "automatically" develop even near-normal levels of language content and pragmatics. And failure to make progress in these important areas can have very negative repercussions for academic, psychosocial, and vocational development.

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