Children with Specific Language Impairment

From Language, Speech, and Communication

Children with Specific Language Impairment

By Laurence B. Leonard

Children with Specific Language Impairment covers all aspects of SLI, including its history, possible genetic and neurobiological origins, and clinical and educational practice.

A Bradford Book





Children with Specific Language Impairment covers all aspects of SLI, including its history, possible genetic and neurobiological origins, and clinical and educational practice.

Approximately five percent of all children are born with the disorder known as specific language impairment (SLI). These children show a significant deficit in spoken language ability with no obvious accompanying condition such as mental retardation, neurological damage, or hearing impairment. Children with Specific Language Impairment covers all aspects of SLI, including its history, possible genetic and neurobiological origins, and clinical and educational practice. The book highlights important research strategies in the quest to find the cause of SLI and to develop methods of prevention and treatment. It also explores how knowledge of SLI may add to our understanding of language organization and development in general.

Leonard does not limit his study to English, but shows how SLI is manifested in speakers of other languages. Although his focus is on children, he also discusses adults who exhibited SLI as children, as well as parents of children with the disorder whose own language abilities became the object of study.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262122061 472 pp. | 6.9 in x 9.9 in


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262621366 472 pp. | 6.9 in x 9.9 in


  • Leonard's study will be indispensable for anyone who needs to keep current on child language development in general, and developmental language pathologies in particular.... One of the preeminent scholars in the field, Leonard offers a fairly balanced view of specific language impairment in children, no easy task given the controversial nature of the subject. He also provides a comprehensive review of the literature, from the earliest beginnings of work in this field in the last century down to the very latest references. As a resource for students at all levels and for scholars of language development, this work is simply unparalleled.

    L.E. Hewitt


  • Without question, Dr. Leonard has been the foremost researcher on specific language impairment for two decades. This book represents a complete and balanced synthesis of research into SLI by a person who knows much of this research from his own personal experience. This book will certainly serve as the principal reference book for researchers and clinicians working with these children for years to come.

    J. Bruce Tomblin

    Professor of Speech Pathology and Audiology, The University of Iowa

  • At long last, and entire book devoted to a scholarly discussion of all the complex issues that surround children with SLI by one of the foremost SLI researchers. Professor Leonard was one of the first researchers to study children with SLI almost 30 years ago. No one is better qualified to make some sense of the vast and often conflicting literature about these children. Leonard is at his best evaluating all of the different cusal theories of SLI. Readers also will particularly interested in his opinion of the recent treatment program developed by Tallal and her colleagues.

    Alan Kamhi

    Professor of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology, University of Memphis

  • This book is an important contribution to the study of specific language impairment (SLI). It covers a broad spectrum of the research in SLI from its neural bases to the effects of input to its clinical remediation. In a field with considerable controversy and disagreement, the author presents the research in a fair and even handed manner. It will become a standard reference that is read by scholars and students who are interested in language acquisition, language and learning disorders, linguistics, speech pathology, developmental cognitive neuroscience, and neurolinguistics.

    Karin Stromswold

    M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology & Center for cognitive Science, Rutgers University

  • Leonard's thoughtful, comprehensive, and clearly written overview of the literature regarding children with Specific Language Impairment updates the scientific base of the field in a most useful way. It is an important contribution to the emerging story of a very close interface between studies of children's language acquisition and the condition of specific language impairment. This is a must-read for scholars in either area of endeavor.

    Mabel Rice

    University Distinguished Professor in Speech-Language-Hearing, University of Kansas

  • There is no one in the world who can speak about Specific Language Impairment with greater authority and breadth of knowledge than Larry Leonard. The book is clearly written, with just the right combination of scholarship and wit. It is encyclopedic in its scope, covering every relevant aspect of SLI. Despite this breadth of coverage, the book is very readable, and should appeal to a wide audience, including linguists, psycholinguists, cognitive neuroscientists, pediatricians, speech/language pathologist, teachers and parents.

    Elizabeth Bates

    Professor of Cognitive Science, Professor of Psychology, and Director, Center for Research in Language, University of California

  • In the preface of the book the author states... I hope that I have created a volume that moves the study of specific language impairment forward. Leonard has certainly done so first, by focussing on those issues that lead to a better understanding of the nature of the disorder than was available to us previously, second, by clearly indicating where and how further research needs to be carried out, and thrid, by placing the characteristics of SLI within the contexts of language acquisition in general. The latter lets us understand why the study of SLI children and this book are important to investigators and students of child language disorder and development.

    Paula Menyuk

    Professor of Applied Linguistics and Developmental Studies, Boston University

  • This book is a tour de force. I would expect the book to quickly become a classic reference in the field. It is extremely up-to-date, helped in part by the fact that Dr. Leonard is the author of some of the best research on the topic.

    Erika Hoff-Ginsberg

    Professor of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University