Worth Repeating: The Causal Effects of Genes on Language Disorders across Clinical Conditions
Mabel L Rice, Ph.D., Child Language Doctoral Program/Center for Biobehavioral Neurosciences in Communication Disorders, University of Kansas
Published online 06-25-08 in the Canadian Language & Literacy Research Network in their Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy Development
Language acquisition is an important part of young children’s early development. When children’s language does not appear when expected or is immature for their ages, they are faced with daunting challenges—they struggle to make themselves understood by their families; they encounter difficulties establishing healthy friendships with other children; and they are likely to experience academic difficulties in school, especially with reading. Above all else, because there is no well-established scientific account of the cause of language impairments, the children and their parents encounter intuitive and often misleading assumptions about causation. People may assume that these children are not trying hard enough to learn language or are intellectually limited. They may also assume that their parents are not expecting them to use language or are not reading or talking enough to their children. Although these assumptions can be well intended, they are often not accurate and can add to the burdens of affected children and their families.
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