NumberTalk - Mathematical skills of children with SLI
Around 7% of children have significant difficulties acquiring the skills of language (specific language impairments or SLI), though their non-verbal skills appear to develop normally. We know that this group has generally poor attainments in maths, but recent studies have shown that (a) there are areas of maths in which they perform surprisingly well and (b) some individuals with SLI do much better than others.
This project used innovative methods to assess a range of mathematical abilities in a large sample of eight year olds, comparing children with SLI to selected control groups in order to uncover the ways in which different aspects of language development support mathematical learning.
The study addressed current theoretical issues concerning the links between maths and language while at the same time taking account of the effects of specialized teaching and offering new insights into the factors affecting mathematical progress of children with special needs. A significant proportion of project resources was devoted to the development of new tools for assessing children’s understanding of mathematical language on the one hand and non-verbal mathematical skills on the other.
Dr Chris Donlan, University College London
Grant amount and duration
1 May 2001 - 31 July 2003
'The role of language in mathematical development: Evidence from children with specific language impairments', Donlan C, Cowan R, Newton E J, Lloyd D, Cognition, 2007
'Number Skills and Knowledge in Children with Specific Language Impairment', Cowan R, Donlan C, Newton E J, Lloyd D, Journal of Educational Psychology, 2005
Afasic Abstract Spring 2005
Afasic Newsletter 03/2004, p. 12-13
- Cognitive and Educational Foundations of Preschool Mathematics
- The influence of cognition and the home environment on early numeracy
- How do young children learn abstract concepts?
- Educational provision for children with SSLD
- Young people with SLI: From compulsory education to adult life
- Rhythmic perception, music and language
- Enhancing Language and Communication in Secondary Schools (ELCISS)