Researchers at the Australian national university have found that children with language impairments are more likely to develop mental health problems during childhood or adolescence.

A team at ANU’s Research School of Psychology made the findings by extracting data from a repository of research articles, some dating back to the 1980s.
The ensuing statistical analysis reportedly found that children with language impairments were around twice as likely to develop conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity, emotional or behavioural difficulties as children with no known language problems.

The diagnosis of a specific language impairment (SLI) is determined by a child displaying difficulties using and understanding verbal communication, when no other reason presents itself.

There is surprisingly little Australian data to work with, according to researcher Shaun Goh: “The only estimates on SLI currently available in Australia are drawn from American estimates,” Goh said, “using these estimates it is thought that today about two to three children, based on a classroom of 30 students, have an SLI... as part of my PhD I am currently conducting an online research study to better understand this.

Mr Goh’s online study is available here.