In two original articles from the inaugural issue of Topics in Language Disorders, Berlin, Blank, and Rose proposed a model of dialogue complexity on the basis of a continuum of abstractness defined as perceptual-language distance; Carlson, Gruenewald, and Nyberg proposed a triadic model of academic concepts, student language, and teacher language to explain classroom breakdowns, particularly in math story problems. The update credits the original contributions as stepping-stones toward a contextualized view of language learning disability and curriculum-based language assessment and intervention. Implications are considered for a complex model of integrated spoken and written language processing and for current discussions of inclusive classrooms, differentiated instruction, and scaffolding discourse. Questions remain about best service delivery contexts for improved instructional and intervention discourse. The writing lab approach is offered as one example of a context for integrating differentiated instruction that can be adjusted to appropriate difficulty levels for all.