Intended for healthcare professionals


Treating children with speech and language impairments

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 14 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:908

Six hours of therapy is not enough

  1. James Law, reader,
  2. Gina Conti-Ramsden, professor of child language and learning
  1. Language and Communication Sciences, City University, London EC1V 0HB
  2. School of Education, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL

    Papers p 923

    About 5-8% of children under the age of 5 have developmental impairments of speech and language. This proportion is higher than that for any other neurodevelopmental condition occurring at that age.1 Parents are concerned about these impairments, and the number of children being referred to speech and language therapy services is increasing.2

    These impairments are characterised by a low level of speech and language skills. Such difficulties may occur secondary to disabilities such as cerebral palsy, sensorineural hearing loss, or autism. Impairment may also be the main symptom in a constellation of comorbid difficulties, such as challenging behaviour or otitis media.3

    Although spontaneous remission of symptoms in primary speech and language disorders sometimes occurs many children will experience long term effects from these disorders. Studies of samples …

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