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The CLAD (Crosslinguistic Language Diagnosis) project is founded by the European Union. It involves: Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, Romania.

Aims of the project:

  1. Investigate the acquisition of critical aspects of language in typically developing children and in children affected by language impairments and compare their developmental paths.
  2. Understand to which extent Specific Language Impairments and Dyslexia overlap.
  3. Find out a set of clinical markers to identify children with Specific Language Impairments or/and Dyslexia.
  4. Improve the situation of children with SLI and dyslexia in Europe

Up to now, SLI and dyslexia are addressed almost exclusively at the national level. But migration and multilingualism raise new problems for diagnosis and therapy that can only be addressed at the European level.

Published Indicators: The prevalence of SLI and Dyslexia has been reported most reliably for English speaking children: About 7% are genetically at risk for SLI (Tomblin, et al 2000) and between 5% and 10% for dyslexia (Velltulino et al. 2004 J.o.Child Psych. and Psych.) Because of the overlap between the two groups (Bishop & Snowling 2004 Psych. Bull.), the total prevalence is around 10%. It is well established that both dyslexia and SLI have highly heritable genetic risk factors (Plomin et al. 1994 Science, Stromswold 2001 Language), and three genes associated with dyslexia have been identified (Grigorenko et al. 2003 Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci.). The numbers show that language disorders are a significant burden on European education systems and their effective diagnosis and treatment can bring about major savings and improvements.

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Aims of the project

  • Investigate language acquisition processes in typically developing children and in children affected by language impairments and compare their different developmental paths.
  • Understand to which extent we find an overlap between Specific Language Impairments and Dyslexia.
  • Develop a set of clinical markers to identify children at risk of Specific Language Impairments or/and Dyslexia.