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Language Learning Disability and Individual Differences: Can We See Between the Lines?

Silliman, Elaine R. PhD

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0b013e3181d07eac

In honor of Dr. Katherine Butler's extraordinary leadership of Topics in Language Disorders, this article takes up her 1982 challenge to reach toward greater understanding of individual differences in the use of oral and written language by children with language learning disability. The article focuses on 3 interconnected dimensions of learning that appear important for the eventual resolution of Dr. Butler's challenge: (1) the stability vs the instability of language-learning profiles, (2) the unique pathways that learning may take, and (3) linear vs nonlinear perspectives of language learning. Future directions are then outlined for rethinking individual variations in language learning disability.

Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida.

Corresponding Author: Elaine R. Silliman, PhD, Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders, University of South Florida PCD 1017, 4202 East Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins