The Specific Language Impaired Child: The Place of the Family

By Shirley Yul-Ifode.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 5, 2014 $US5.00

The general implications of language difficulties in children cannot be adequately addressed, except when those that can affect their environment know what is expected of them. This paper examines the primary role of the family and the degree of awareness of that role in providing the stimulating environment for the development of language in the child, particularly in the case of language impaired children. In so doing, this article highlights the problems of specific language impairment and the environmental factors that enhance or deter some of these conditions. Using information data from a survey of family participation, the level of awareness of children language developmental stages, and possible language disorders in a Nigerian community, it observes that family members do not really see themselves as active participants in the language environment of the child, but see this either as the responsibility of specific members of the family or the school. This paper calls for appropriate family involvement in enabling the environment of the child for normal development, and readily identifying non-normal deviations for early intervention when necessary. Ultimately, it calls for the need to sensitize the average Nigerian family (not only the mother) on their paramount role in the development of the language of the child, a faculty that is fundamental to human development.

Keywords: Language development in the child, Specific Language Impairment, the family and enabling

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 11, Issue 4, June 2014, pp.37-48. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 5, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 354.132KB)).

Shirley Yul-Ifode

Professor, Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies, University of Port Harcourt, Choba, Nigeria

Shirley Yul-Ifode has been lecturing in the Department of Linguistics and Communication Studies at the University of Port Harcourt since 1983. In addition to routine teaching, she has supervised degree projects at the undergraduate and post- graduate levels. Her areas of specialization include Phonetics and Phonology, Historical and Comparative Linguistics, as well as Applied Linguistics. Within the last two decades, she has expanded the application of Linguistics in Nigeria to studies in child language and communication disorders. Apart from encouraging students' research in this area, she has organised conferences and workshops in this field. Outside academics, she sews, gardens and preaches the christian gospel. She is, presently, the director of the Centre for children Developmental and Communication Disorders of her University.