Study Finds That Children and Adolescents With SLI/DLD Have More Difficulty With Emotional Regulation

The Cognition and Language Research Group, the University of Barcelona, and the eHealth Center of  Universitat Oberta de Catalunya examined the emotional regulations measures in adolescents and children with specific language impairment/ developmental language disorder (SLI/ DLD).

This disorder affects about 7% of children. While adolescents and children often have difficulty

communicating, this disorder makes it increasingly challenging. Studies have shown that 1 in 4 children have a language developmental disorder.

Moreover, scientists have found that SLI/DLD is not due to intellectual diseases like Down’s Syndrome. However, children with the condition often experience difficulties in their academic performance and daily lives.

According to Nadia Ahufinger, a study author and psychology expert, very few studies look into the social and emotional aspects of children, especially those with SLI/DLD. For this reason, the team wanted to understand their emotional regulation.

How researchers conducted the study 

The team gathered 50 adolescents and children and conducted various expressive and receptive vocabulary tests. They found that children and adolescents without SLI/DLD have the same types of emotional regulation regardless of gender. The researchers also concluded that children with the disorder often had more challenges regulating their emotions as they grew older.

Researchers also looked into the link between language and emotional regulation in children. They realized that the expressive vocabulary they learned between the ages of 5 and 7 would determine how well they regulate their emotions in five years. However, they did not find this link in adolescents.

Researchers put the children’s surroundings into consideration. They also considered how their parents helped the children develop healthy emotional regulation.

Pre-school children with SLI/DLD can be less sympathetic 

The team zoned in emotional regulation in pre-school children. While it could be challenging to differentiate children with SLI/DLD from those that didn’t have the disorder, researchers found slight differences. For instance, children diagnosed with the disorder were less empathetic. These children had a hard time identifying their emotions and those of others.

In addition, the team emphasized how parents played a vital role in the emotional development of their children. While both parents were required to fill out the questionnaire from researchers, the team noted that mothers were more likely to participate as they often played a more prominent role.

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