'I went to a language unit': Adolescents' views on specialist educational provision and their language difficulties

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The opinions of adolescents about their earlier specialist educational provision in the UK, i.e. language units, have received little attention in the literature. This study examines the views of young people and their parents on language units and also evaluates opinions concerning the young people's language difficulties. One hundred and thirty-nine adolescents with specific language impairment (SLI) aged approximately 16 years, who had all attended a language unit at 7 years of age, were interviewed along with their parents and teachers. A broadly positive experience of language unit attendance was reported by young people and their parents. However, a fifth of adolescents and nearly a third of parents thought there had been too little educational support during schooling. In addition, a fifth of the adolescents felt there were lots of ways in which they could not do things currently due to language difficulties. It was also found that nearly a third of the young people had tried to hide their language difficulties in the past year. Within the context of an overall positive picture of results, young people with SLI may require support during adolescence with regard to their continued language difficulties, their confidence and self-esteem.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-121
Number of pages18
JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2009