The loneliness of those with language difficulties, and those around them, is a big driver and cause for us here at NETwork. We feel very passionately that by not using the tools which are proven to be effective to teach language, that we are in fact breaching a child’s human rights as well as contravening the UNCRC. We also believe that by not support a family in this journey that we are removing their right to a family life and to thrive.
The BBC recently reported that, “children with a serious language impairment can grow up lonely, frustrated and in trouble.
Manchester University researchers are trying to find out how to make them swim, not sink.”
They said the following:
“Imagine listening to a foreign language you are not familiar with all day. It would be tiring and confusing. You would miss important information and you'd have to work very hard to understand what people were saying.
That's what it's like to have a specific language impairment in your own language, says Gina Conti-Ramsden, professor of child language and learning from the University of Manchester.
"These children aren't mute. They can talk - but it's a hidden disability," she says.
"They can't understand what is said all the time and they find it difficult to put words together, and to express themselves."
Here at NETwork Interventions, we find that it is the children who don’t meet the very obvious ‘thresholds’ in order to receive a diagnosis of a specific disorder, who fall through the net and struggle the most. Many of these children’s struggles just show when they begin to fall significantly behind academically, begin not to participate during ‘group’ carpet teaching or begin to play by themselves during break times. Many language struggles do not show until the child begins to play up and behave ‘inappropriately’, disrupting the class. We often find that we are called in by head teachers in Year One.
There are many areas of language, not simply ‘expressive’ (spoken) and ‘receptive’ (listening and following what has been said to you). For example, ‘expressive’ actually is broken down in to lots of operants. Two of these are the tact (the label) and the mand (the request). Both are even further broken down. The mand is further broken down in to more categories, such as the simple mand (for an item, a person or an activity) or a mand for information (asking when, where, why, how, what).
A child may look as though they speak but if they do not ‘mand’ 1000s of times a day, they will certainly be falling behind their peers. If a child is in fact unable to spontaneously tact his environment inside his head as well as out loud pretty much continually, he will be unable to answer questions about past events (eg. Who he played with at lunch time), be unable to talk about his internal emotions (how he feels) and therefore will significantly struggle with any relationship and many areas of academia.