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From my description is it possible she has language difficulties?

TinaM Community member Posts: 2 Listener
edited October 2021 in Sensory impairments


  • TinaM
    TinaM Community member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hello Chris

    My adopted daughter is 14, in mainstream school without support and was diagnosed with ADHD at 8yrs. She also underwent ADOS? testing for ASD but no diagnosis given. She has always been a reluctant reader, not interested in TV, music. She isn't behind at school and can read and spell ok for her age. However, she is very distressed as she says she does not understand books, plays, films TV programmes etc and this makes school life hard for her and means she does not share the same interests to a lot of girls her age. She struggles socially, with only 1 or 2 friends in school and doesn't socialise at all after school or in holidays. In school she isn't behind, but English is the area where her grades are lower than all other subjects. I've been wondering about the possibility of Pragmatic Language Impairment.

    She doesn't understand when people talk too loud or fast. She says she doesn't understand what sentences in books mean (she can read the actual words ok), doesn't remember what she has read just minutes before and so could not read a book for fun, put it down and return to it later. She doesn't understand/follow about a characters name, storyline, what they mean when they speak, what they have done/might do/will do. If she does watch TV with us, she will frequently ask "is this real?", she cannot work out for herself the difference between an acted or reality programme. She prefers to watch simpler, cartoon programmes if at all. She doesn't "read" people well at all and isn't tuned into their emotions. If I ask her anything at all her default response is "I don't know", she avoids conversation or can only respond in quite basic ways for a girl of her age. she also acts and talks in a very babyish way at home, probably connected to the ADHD, but she then uses a lot of repetition when talking, and it's a lot of "gibberish" still not a proper conversation,

    We haven't been very successful when asking school about her difficulties and are concerned that an NHS SALT would not have the time, or experience to understand a very complex young girl who works very hard to disguise her issues outside of the home and if sat in a brief 1:1 situation would come across as age appropriate but the reality at home is very different. Therefore we are considering a private assessment even though many people tell us the NHS and school will ignore any private assessments/diagnosis. Is PLI given as a stand alone diagnosis? From my discription is it possible she has language difficulties?

    Thanks, and apologies for the long post.
  • LondonSpeechTherapy2
    LondonSpeechTherapy2 Community member Posts: 3 Listener
    Hi Tina,

    Thank you for your post.

    Unfortunately I am duty bound by the Health Care Professionals Council not to offer direct clinical advice or opinion without an assessment.

    I would recommend speaking to school and seeing what their concerns are and finding out how the school currently accessing SLT services. Some schools in fact top-up their NHS 'core' provision with more NHS SLT or they choose to use an alternative (i.e. private) provider.

    If you are interested in 'going private' pop over to the Association of Speech & Language Therapists in Independent Practise (ASLTIP) at and searching for a SLT in your geographical area and almost by specialism.

    Independent SLTs have the same set of legal (HCPC) and professional (RCSLT)) standards as NHS SLTs and as such there is no reason whatsoever why a private SLT's assessment report would be disregarded or not accepted.

    Very best wishes

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