Deutsch: Spezifische Lernstörungen / Español: Trastornos Específicos del Aprendizaje / Português: Transtornos Específicos de Aprendizagem / Français: Troubles Spécifiques des Apprentissages / Italiano: Disturbi Specifici dell'Apprendimento

In the context of psychology, SLI stands for Specific Language Impairment. It is a condition characterized by difficulties acquiring and using language due to the absence of sensory impairments, nonverbal intelligence within the normal range, and no apparent neurological disorder. SLI affects both understanding and producing spoken language, which is not consistent with the individual's cognitive abilities, potentially impacting reading, writing, and social interaction.

General Description

Specific Language Impairment is considered a developmental disorder that becomes evident in early childhood as the child begins to acquire language. Unlike other learning disabilities that might affect multiple areas of learning, SLI is specifically related to the development of oral language skills. Children with SLI may have difficulty with vocabulary, grammar (forming sentences), understanding language, and using language in socially appropriate ways. These challenges are not due to hearing loss, intellectual disability, neurological damage, or environmental factors like inadequate instruction.

Application Areas

The diagnosis and treatment of SLI involve various professionals and are relevant in:

  • Educational psychology: Supporting children in academic settings by providing specialized learning strategies.
  • Speech and language therapy: Offering targeted interventions to improve language skills.
  • Developmental psychology: Understanding the developmental pathways and outcomes of children with SLI.

Well-Known Examples

While there are no "examples" of SLI in the traditional sense, prominent research and case studies have significantly contributed to understanding and treating SLI. Studies often involve longitudinal tracking of children with SLI to observe their language development and social integration over time.

Treatment and Risks

The primary treatment for SLI involves speech and language therapy, which is tailored to the child's specific difficulties. Early intervention is crucial for improving outcomes, as untreated SLI can lead to academic struggles, reduced employment opportunities, and social-emotional difficulties in adulthood.


Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is a developmental disorder that significantly affects a child's ability to acquire and use language, with implications for their academic achievement and social interactions. Despite the challenges it presents, with early diagnosis and appropriate intervention, children with SLI can develop effective communication skills and lead successful lives.