Developmental Language Disorders: Learning, Language, and the Brain

First Edition

Diane L. Williams

Details: 336 pages, B&W, Softcover, 6" x 9"

ISBN13: 978-1-59756-189-1

© 2009 | Available


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In the past decade, there has been an explosion of research on the neurological basis of developmental disorders and the application of this research to the learning process. However, to date, much of this information has been presented at a level that is beyond most students and many clinicians.

Williams' book is deliberately targeted at the clinician and student, and is grounded in the belief that the most effective intervention for developmental disorders is based on an understanding of the underlying neurobiology and neurofunctional basis of the disorder - in a clear and accessible form.

Here, she focuses on the current knowledge base, neurological development (prenatal, through childhood, to young adulthood), neuroimaging techniques, research on the neurological basis of developmental language disorders, autism, reading (dyslexia), and genetic conditions associated with mental retardation. Most importantly, she focuses on what is currently known about the effects of the environment on brain organization and learning, and the translation of neurological findings to the design of intervention for disordered language.


"'Developmental Language Disorders: Learning, Language and the Brain'' is an interesting and useful book. The author not only provides a solid neuroscience background in the field of language development but takes the crucial step of translating the science into clinical practice. This dual-pronged goal is explicitly stated at the end of Chapter 2: "The more we understand.the more we can design interventions that will maximize the positive developments and minimize the negative ones." While the book easily could be used as a textbook in a graduate-level course, the information presented is valuable for speech-language pathologists already in the field. In keeping with the widespread professional trend, it is based heavily on research. The references at the end of each chapter run to as many as 10 pages. All in all, 'Developmental Language Disorders' is both informative and practical."
Shari Pitterman, Advance for Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (February 2011)

Brain Development for Learning

  • How the Brain is Organized for Learning Language
  • The Cortical Basis of Learning Language
  • Measuring the Brain-Behavior Relationship

Neurobiological Research on Developmental Language Disorders

  • Introduction
  • Brain Processing in Developmental Disorders of Spoken and Written Language
  • Learning and Using Language with Autism
  • Learning and Using Language with Genetic Conditions Associated with Mental Retardation: Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, & Fragile X

Brain-Based Intervention

  • Brain-based Learning
  • Brain-based Assessment and Intervention Early in the Developmental Process
  • Brain-based Assessment and Intervention with Older Children and Adolescents

Diane L. Williams

Diane L. Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She conducts behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of cognitive and language processing in autism with the Autism Center of Excellence at the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University. She is a Board Recognized Specialist in Child Language and a certified speech-language pathologist with extensive clinical experience working with toddlers, preschoolers, school-age children, and adults with a wide variety of developmental language disorders. A primary focus of her current research is the design of interventions for individuals with autism based on a neurobiological model of cognitive and linguistic processing.

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