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Speech and language problem in children
A language disorder is an impairment that makes it hard for someone to find the right words and form clear sentences when speaking. It can also make it difficult to understand what another person says. A child may have difficulty understanding what others say, may struggle to put thoughts into words, or both.
You may notice that your child’s vocabulary is very basic and his sentences are short, ungrammatical and incomplete. While his peers chat and tell jokes, your child may have trouble following the conversation and miss the jokes. He also may speak in two-word sentences and have trouble answering even simple questions.
They aren’t simply “late talkers.” without treatment, their communication problems will continue and may lead to emotional issues and academic struggles.
Types of language disorders:
- There are three kinds of language disorders.
- Receptive language issues involve difficulty understanding what others are saying.
- Expressive language issues involve difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas.
- Mixed receptive-expressive language issues involve difficulty understanding and using spoken language.
What are the symptoms kids have?
Kids with receptive language issues may have trouble understanding what other people say. They could also have difficulty following simple directions and organizing information they hear. Receptive language issues can be hard to spot in very young children.
Expressive language issues can be easier to identify early. This is because kids with expressive language issues may be late to start talking and not speak until age 2. At age 3, they may be talking but hard to understand, and the problems persist into preschool. Some kids, for instance, might understand the stories read to them but not be able to describe them even in a simple way.
Here are other signs of expressive language issues:
- Has a limited vocabulary compared to children the same age
- Frequently says “um” and substitutes general words like “stuff” and “things” for more precise words
- Has trouble learning new vocabulary words
- Leaves out key words and confuses verb tense
- Uses certain phrases over and over again when talking
- Seems frustrated by inability to communicate thoughts
- May not talk much or often, but understands what other people say
- Is able to pronounce words and sounds, but sentences often don’t make sense
- Uses a limited variety of sentence structures when speaking
What skills are affected by language disorders?
Language disorders can affect kids in a number of ways, both socially and academically. Here are some examples.
* social skills: understanding what others are saying and expressing themselves through words helps children form relationships. When kids can’t communicate clearly, they may struggle to make friends and be part of a social group. They may prefer to be alone and become shy or distant. They might also become the target of bullies or act aggressively because they can’t resolve problems verbally.
* academic struggles: some research suggests that children with language disorders also have reading issues. Some kids also struggle with writing because of their limited vocabulary and poor grasp of grammar.
Here are some signs that your child might have a receptive language delay:
- At 15 months, does not look or point at people or objects when they are named by a parent or caregiver
- At 18 months, does not follow simple directions, such as “get your coat”
- At 24 months, is not able to point to a picture or a part of the body when it is named
- At 30 months, does not respond out loud or by nodding or shaking the head and asking questions
- At 36 months, does not follow two-step directions, and does not understand action words
Here are some signs of expressive language delay:
- At 15 months, is not using three words
- At 18 months, is not saying, “mama,” “dada,” or other names
- At 24 months, is not using at least 25 words
- At 30 months, is not using two-word phrases, including phrases with both a noun and a verb
- At 36 months, does not have at least a 200-word vocabulary, is not asking for items by name, repeats exactly questions asked by others, seems to have lost some language skills, or is not using complete sentences
- At 48 months, often uses words incorrectly or uses a similar or related word instead of the correct word.
The first step in evaluating the problem is by seeking an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist (also called a speech therapist). Only a speech therapist can help the kids as well as parents to overcome this problem.