Communication is language and it is in everything we do. So, when talking about what is affected if your child has a language disorder, the answer is ALMOST EVERYTHING. The word “language” refers to both what a child understands and what they say. Of course, language difficulties don’t affect your physical development or ability to eat, etc., but since we communicate everywhere we go, all areas of a child’s life will be affected if they’re having trouble in this area.
Signs and Symptoms
Some children will have problems with understanding. This is called “receptive language”. If your child has a receptive language disorder, he/she may have trouble with:
- Following directions
- Answering questions
- Understanding what gestures mean
- Identifying objects and pictures
- Taking turns talking with others
Some children may have problems talking. This is called “expressive language”. If your child has an expressive language disorder, he/she may have difficulty with:
- Answering questions
- Naming objects
- Putting word together to make a sentence
- Using gestures
- Learning songs and rhymes
- Using correct pronouns like “he” or “they”
- Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going
Some children who have a receptive or expressive language disorder will also have trouble with reading and writing such as:
- Holding a book right side up
- Looking at pictures in a book and turning pages
- Naming letters and numbers
- Learning the alphabet
- Telling a story with a beginning, middle and an end
What is involved with a preschool language disorders assessment?
Speech-Language Pathologists are usually a part of a team which includes the parent, the child’s preschool teacher and other professionals. This team will be able to decide if your child’s language skills are developing age appropriately. The Speech-Language Pathologist will let you know whether your child would benefit from therapy. We usually look for things such as, does your child:
- Know how to play with toys?
- Use pretend play?
- Follow directions and routines?
- Name familiar objects and actions?
- Identify colours, numbers and letters?
- Sings songs or copy a nursery rhyme?
- Look at books and talk about the pictures?
- Recognize familiar people?
- Hold a book correctly and turn the pages?
- Recognize their name?
What can I do as a parent to help my child?
Therapy can definitely help children who have a language disorder. The Speech-Language Pathologist will set goals for therapy and these sessions will increase learning, behaviour, confidence and social skills. Many children don’t know the unspoken rules of conversation and the social interaction which most of us do naturally. What a child learns in therapy should continue at home. Here are some things that you can do to increase your child’s language skills:
- Talk to your child a lot!
- Read to your child every day!
- Be down at their level and face to face
- Point to words during the day, such as at the grocery store, library or outside
- Listen and respond when your child talks
- Encourage your child to ask questions and give them time to answer
- Set limits for watching TV and using electronics
Amy Grossi is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist, practicing for over 10 years. She has gathered experience working for the ministry and private clinics. Amy enjoys the area of early language, literacy development, apraxia and fluency.