Doctoral StudentDepartment of Psychiatry and
About Ulrika Schachinger-Lorentzon
Ulrika has many years of clinical experience of working with children with early language difficulties and their families. Ulrika divides her clinical time between the Speech and Language Therapy Clinic for Children and Adolescents and the Neuropsychiatric Clinic for Children and Adolescents. The mission of a speech therapist consists of differentiating diagnosis of language impairment from other developmental abnormalities. As a specialist, Ulrika has led the mission to deliver evidence-based speech therapy methods at the speech therapy clinic.
Child development and behaviour has been an interest of Ulrika's throughout her career. When she had the opportunity to analyse some of the data from the first collection of 2.5 year old children in the AUDIE (AUtism Detection and Intervention in Early life) project during her speech and language therapy degree, the realisation that a language disorder is often not the only developmental difficulty in a child became stronger. In fact, many studies show that a developmental language disorder is rarely the only disability. Early identification of developmental problems and intervention creates better conditions for the child's developmental trajectory. Knowledge of the developmental trajectories of late language development at an early age needs to be expanded. With this in mind, Ulrika conducted her Master's study by systematically mapping children with a positive outcome on language screening at 2.5 years of age who were referred consecutively to the speech therapy clinic, at Queen Silvia Children's Hospital. The study showed that 87/100 children had a development-related language disorder diagnosis. More than 50% of the children in the group were multilingual. More than half met criteria for both receptive and expressive language impairment according to ICD 10. Parents were asked to rate their child's development and generally parents' concerns about their child's development were low, but the greater the language difficulties, the greater the concerns about language but also other areas such as social behaviour.
Three years later, at the age of 6, all children were asked to participate in a follow-up study, of which 85 accepted. The children were again assessed by a speech and language pathologist. In parallel, parents completed questionnaires about their child's quality of life, development and communication. The distribution in the group of language diagnoses and the results of the questionnaires on child development and quality of life, showed that 87% had continuing language diagnoses, with the children with developmental language disorder being the largest, 68 children. The number of children with speech sound disorder was 6 and 11 children did not meet the criteria for a language diagnosis. Parents of children with developmental language disorder were again more concerned about their child's development. In addition to language, there were concerns about executive functions, memory, motor skills and perception. Another interesting finding was that parents of children without a language disorder reported concerns about language (45%) and perception. No parents reported that their child's quality of life was impaired, but children with developmental language impairment reported feeling a decline in quality of life, particularly in the school situation. The fact that parents and children answer differently raises questions about what quality of life stands for and whose perception is the guiding one. This finding is in line with previous studies that suggest that it is difficult for children under the age of 7-8 to answer abstract questions about quality of life. It is also intended to further study diagnostic stability over time and the co-occurrence of other developmental abnormalities and to obtain information on interventions offered to these children between 2.5 and 6 years of age. The multilingual children will also be mapped as a subgroup to clarify possible differences between monolingual and multilingual children.
- Master of Medical Science in Speech and Language pathology, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology; University of Gothenburg (2017)
- Certified Specialist in Speech and Language Pathology, Department of Paediatric Speech and Language Pathology; Queen Silvia Children's hospital, Gothenburg (2018)
- PhD student at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology; University of Gothenburg (2020)
Developmental Language Disorder | ESSENCE | developmental trajectories | bilingualism | questionnaire
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