Teachers need greater awareness of the specific language impairment (SLI) disorder, it has been claimed.
According to the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this is necessary if outcomes are to be improved for the three-to-six per cent of youngsters who are affected by this.
Lucy Henry, research professor at the London School of Economics, said the lack of understanding about SLI contrasts with the broader understanding and acceptance of similar disabilities such as dyslexia.
"The speech difficulties can involve grammar, a small vocabulary or other aspects of language," she commented.
"In addition, because language is important for reading, around half of children identified with SLI also have difficulties with reading. These problems are not due to them having a general learning disability, autism, hearing impairments or brain injury."
The ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students at any one time in academic institutions and independent research institutes.