Helsinki Longitudinal SLI study

We have launched in January 2013 the Helsinki Longitudinal SLI study (HelSLI) at the Department of Phoniatrics, Helsinki University Central Hospital. 3-6-year-old first-time children were invited to participate during the years 2013-2016 and, at the first stage of the study, they are followed up until they enter school at seven years of age. The second stage of the study, beginning in 2017, investigates the same children at the age of 10 years.

The HelSLI investigates developmental Language Disorder (DLD) and specific language impairment (SLI) at multiple levels of analysis, that is, etiological (genetic and environmental), neural, cognitive, and behavioral.
The HelSLI study consists of five sub-projects:
  • HelSLI-genetic focuses on the role of genetic factors in developmental language difficulties.
  • HelSLI-EEG concentrates on the brain electrophysiology and its role in DLD.
  • HelSLI-cognitive will focus on the non-linguistic correlates of developmental language difficulties with experimental assessment and intervention methods.
  • HelSLI-psychosocial investigates how the child’s psychological characteristics and environment influence developmental language difficulties and how DLD affects the well-being of a child.
  • HelSLI-bilingual investigates the characteristics of DLD in monolingual versus bilingual children.
The main aim of the project is to shed light on the multiple interactive risk and protective factors that affect the developing profile of DLD and how these different levels of analysis relate to traditional rehabilitation methods and experimental interventions. On a more practical level, the results of the HelSLI will enable early identification of difficulties, before the school age, and new assessment tools with normative information for the clinicians.