What is SLI, the disorder that Dieguito Fernando Maradona suffers from?

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In February 2019, during the celebration of the sixth birthday of Diego Fernando in Mexico with his father, Diego Maradona, the presence of a psychological speech disorder that affected the child was revealed. The revelation by Verónica Ojeda, the child’s mother, was made public a year later on Susana Giménez’s program, where she confirmed that her son had been diagnosed with SLI, Specific Language Disorder.

SLI, according to the Argentine Specific Language Disorder Association (A.TEL.AR), is a communication disorder that affects language development in children without hearing loss or intellectual disability. Signs can appear as early as the first year of life, and it is crucial for parents to be alert to signs such as a lack of understanding of the child’s name or an inability to say simple words.

In a recent visit to the Susana Giménez program, Verónica Ojeda shared details about Dieguito Fernando’s disorder, noting that he had initially been diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Confusion in diagnoses is common, and in this case, a trip to the United States revealed the true nature of the problem: SLI. This disorder, which affects 3-10% of children under five years of age, has deep-rooted myths that make early consultation difficult.

Early detection of language disorders is essential to avoid risks to the cognitive, psychological and social development of children. Speech therapist Irene Muchnik from Sobol emphasizes that language acts as a fundamental organizer to understand and interpret the environment. However, myths persist that delay consultation, such as the belief that girls speak much earlier than boys.

Pediatrician Nicolás Cacchiarelli emphasizes the importance of not underestimating “late-onset speakers”, children with a limited vocabulary at the age of two. 44% of them develop a specific language disorder by the age of three, highlighting the need for early interventions. Waiting for a spontaneous recovery can deprive the child of the necessary attention at the optimal time for its evolution.

Although the causes of SLI are still unknown, studies suggest a strong genetic link. This disorder should not be confused with a learning problem, but it presents itself as a risk factor for such problems. Awareness of SLI and the importance of early intervention are crucial to the long-term well-being of children who suffer from it.

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