As many people experience a form of communicative impairment (stutter, dyslexia, Specific Language Impairment (SLI) in children or aphasia following a stroke or brain injury), it is important to understand the effect of a communicative impairment in the acquisition of more than one languages, as well as how multilingual acquisition impacts communicative impairment.

This is one of the reasons why AThEME is looking into this research area; the relationship between multilingualism and communicative impairment. AThEME researchers intend to improve current knowledge and understanding of the way in which different forms of multilingualism affect and interact with communicative disorders.

They have two aims in researching multilingualism and communicative impairment:

  • The first aim is to increase the evidence base in order to benefit assessments and policies. The behavioural expression and neurocognitive basis of communication disorders in multilinguals will be addressed. AThEME researchers are also interested in the social factors associated with multilingualism in health care and social services. They will collect new evidence on the way multilingualism affects the linguistic and cognitive skills involved in communicative impairment (with a focus on Specific Language Impairment (SLI) and Developmental Dyslexia (DD)). The wellbeing and social integration of elderly multilinguals is a final focus of study for this group of researchers.
  • The second aim is to bring this increased evidence base into concrete tools and applications, by translating the research results into practical applications beneficial to teachers, health care providers and others involved with (the well-being of) communicatively impaired people. What are the best teaching methods for improving the reading and spelling skills of communicatively impaired persons in different languages? And how can the diagnostic tools be simplified in order to more easily distinguish disordered language ability from normal delays in healthy development?


Our research team consists of researchers from 6 institutions across 5 EU countries.
Meet our team leaders:


European Policy Brief (June 2018)

AThEME has published a second European Policy Brief , this time on multilingualism and communicative impairment. Based on AThEME research findings dealing with communicative impairment, this document is intended to present policy-relevant…


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