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Speech-language impairment

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Speech-language impairment (SLI) is a category of the Education Adjustment Program (EAP) that indicates that students require significant education adjustments based on their needs. Students with speech-language impairment have an impairment of the structures and functions specific to speech-language processing.

A speech-language impairment may result in one or more of the following. The student has significant difficulties:

  • being able to speak (or may have speech that is very hard to understand)
  • making sense of speech sounds
  • being able to understand others
  • being able to say what he or she wants
  • using language to interact socially.

These problems can prevent students participating and learning at school. To meet criteria in the departmental disability category of speech-language impairment, the student will have long lasting, severe difficulties in one or more of these areas. The category of speech-language impairment does not include speech and language difficulties that are less severe, or that may improve with appropriate help. Speech-language impairment is permanent, though the type and degree of needs may change over time. This means a student who has speech-language impairment will require ongoing individualised educational planning.

The department’s SLPs have a specific role in the Education Adjustment Program process in the identification of students with SLI. They may or may not have an ongoing role in the support of students with SLI.

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Last updated 06 February 2019