An Open Access article published in the Health Behavior and Policy Review Journal.
The full article is available as a PDF download.


Arnold Olszewski, PhD, CCC-SLP Twitter
Donna R. Scarborough, PhD, CCC-SLP
Gregory A. Szumlas, MD, FAAP


Chronic health conditions in childhood have been negatively associated with linguistic, academic, and occupational outcomes. Traditionally, categorical diagnostic approaches relying on exclusionary criteria are used in healthcare services.


This literature review examines research from various fields to evaluate the effects of chronic illness in cognitive-linguistic development in children. We explore the implications for different conceptualizations of the term “chronic illness.” We compare categorical and non-categorical diagnostic approaches, specifically in relation to children’s academic performance.


We provide recommendations for bridging the gap between healthcare and education to provide children with chronic conditions the best chance of thriving medically and academically. Definitions of chronic illness that rely on inclusive criteria and acknowledge individual variability seem best suited for clinical practice and research.


Effective supports for children with chronic illness require evidence-based treatment approaches that are tailored to the unique needs of each individual child. Educators, healthcare providers, families, and related service providers must have open lines of communication to serve children with chronic health conditions. Early identification and intervention is crucial.

Source: Health Behavior and Policy Review, Volume 8, Number 2, March 2021, pp. 184-193(10)
Publisher: Paris Scholar Publishing Ltd.