LOT Winter School 2018

RM1 Language Impairments along the life span: Linguistics framed in evidence based practice

Antje Orgassa


Hogeschool van Arnhem en Nijmegen


Course info

Level: RM1

Course description: (A brief description of what the course will be about.)

Research on the various language impairments is at an important crossroads. The diagnosis of communicative impairments such as Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) or Specific Language Impairment (SLI) is essential for assigning an individual to early behavioral intervention and explaining the individuals condition. But research on ASD or SLI has in the past usually been perceived as developmental childhood disorders, mostly limited to the early stages of life. Furthermore the outcome of research has so far not provided a clear diagnosis-specific medical treatment, or a consistent early predictor, or a unified life course. This may not be surprising as disorders such as SLI and ASD comprise lifelong conditions that can arise from a complex combination of multiple genetic and environmental factors. Given this individual nature, we also may have to change our scope of – also linguistic – research on language impairments. That does not mean however that we have to loosen our linguistic perspective. We just have to broaden our scope towards new perspectives of health along the life span. That means, as linguists, we should integrate our knowledge in the situation and possibilities within health-care, education, the working-places and community support in order to improve quality of life of individuals with language impairments.

The focus will be on the state of the art perspectives on terminology and classification of language impairments, the focus being on High Functioning Autism (HFA) and SLI across the life span. Moreover, we will highlight different qualitative research methodologies to investigate language impairments in a more participatory or evidence based frame work.

After completion of the course, students will have acquired a good understanding of the recent discussion in terminology and classification of language impairments. Moreover, students will also have gained some experience in different aspects of qualitative research designs (participatory research, focus group, interviews etc., designing evidence based linguistic research putting the ‘client’ or the ‘relative next’ in the center).

Day-to-day program

Monday: Classifying language impairments (focus on HFA and SLI)

Tuesday: A lifelong perspective on language impairments – What does it mean for the field of linguistics?

Wednesday: Qualitative research designs

Thursday: Qualitative research designs in linguistics: Improving pragmatic interventions

Friday: Challenges in qualitative research & Presenting pitches of own research designs

Background and preparatory readings:

Patterson, T.L. (2001). The Social Skills Performance Assessment. Script. University of California. (video, script and additional information available)

Bishop, D.V.M., Whitehouse, A., Sharp, M. (2009). Communication Checklist Self Report (CC-SR). Manual. Pearson: London. (printed version available)

Course readings (obligatory):

Lecture 1:

Bishop, D.V.M. (2017). Why is it so hard to reach agreement on terminology? The case of developmental language disorder (DLD). Journal of Communication Disorders, xxx DOI:10.1111/1460-6984.12335

Waterhouse, L., London, E., Gillberg, C. (2016). ASD Validity. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 3 (4), 302-329. DOI 10.1007/s40489-016-0085-x (please, only scan the article)

Lecture 2:

Teunisse, J.-P. (2017). The Institutional and Community Care 10 for Adults with Autistic Spectrum Disorders. Autism Spectrum Disorders in Adults. Barahona Corrêa, B., van der Gaag, R.-J. (Eds.), 235 – 246, Springer: Springer International Publishing Switzerland. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-42713-3

Lecture 3: tba

Lecture 4:

Verhoeven, E.W.M., Smeekens, I. & Didden, R.(2013). Brief Report: Suitability of the social skills performance assessment (SSPA) for the assessment of social skills in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 43, 2990-2996.

Lecture 5: tba

Further readings (optional):