This paper aims to open a discussion about the different labels being used to refer to children’s unexplained language impairments. A wide range of terminology has been applied creating confusion, impeding progress of research and access to appropriate services. For example, the terms ‘dyslexia’, ‘attention deficit hyperactivity disorder’ and ‘autistic spectrum disorder’ are used for difficulties with reading, attention or social cognition respectively. But there is no definitive label for children with unexplained language problems. In DSM-5, the term ‘language disorder’ is problematic as it identifies too wide a range of conditions on an internet search. The author of this paper suggests retaining ‘specific language impairment’ with the understanding that ‘specific’ means ‘idiopathic’ rather than implying there are no other problems beyond language. The author has also suggested several other diagnostic terms and their advantages and disadvantages for evaluation.

Ten questions about terminology for children with unexplained language problems.
Bishop DVM.
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Gauri Mankekar

Department of Otolaryngology-Head Neck Surgery, Louisiana State University Shreveport, Louisiana, USA.

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