In our previous post, we looked at the common speech problems in children and what to do to help an affected child to overcome any of these conditions.
Today, we shall focus on examining the second aspect of speech-language disorders, which is actually the language aspect of such disorders in children.
Generally, language disorders occur when a child uses fewer words than children of the same age. A language disorder may make it hard for a child to find the right words to compose a complete sentence. It can also make it difficult for the affected child to comprehend what others are saying.
Language disorders are loosely classified into three different kinds – Expressive Language Disorder (ELD), Receptive Language Disorder (RLD), and Expressive-Receptive Language Disorder (ERLD).
Let’s look at these conditions in details:
Receptive Language Disorders
For children with receptive language disorders, their problem is difficulty with understanding spoken and written language. This occurs when a child can not understand the meaning of words spoken or written by others and can neither speak nor write a meaningful sentence.
Apart from being a language disorder, such a condition can make it difficult for a child to learn in class. Common signs of receptive language disorders include difficulty understanding gestures, inability to follow directions, inability to identify objects and parts of the body. He or she may also find it difficult to learn to read and write or conceptualize ideas.
Expressive Language Disorders
For children in this category, producing sounds or words isn’t a problem. However, they can not retrieve the right words to form sentences in an understandable manner. In other words, they have trouble using language.
Unlike receptive language disorders, children with expressive language disorders can understand what other people are saying but cannot express their own feelings or transform their thoughts into spoken or written sentences.
For instance, he or she may be able to recognize gestures, objects, and parts of the body but cannot say what they are. Because such conditions affect the child’s language structure, he or she may not be able to tell stories, recite poems, or answer questions.
Expressive-Receptive Language Disorder
As the name suggests, this occurs when a child exhibits symptoms of expressive and receptive language disorder.
What To Do If You Notice Any Symptom of Language Disorders in Your Child
First of all, it is important to know that children learn and grow at their own pace. That your neighbor’s child is speaking fluently at the age of 4 does not mean that your child is abnormal.
So, it is very important that you play your role as parents in helping your child develop properly. You should start talking to your child at a very early age – point to objects (and their names), ask them questions, read to your child, and respond to what they say.
That said, if you have concerns that your child speech-language skills are not developing at the right place, you should seek medical help.
A speech-language pathologist will help to diagnose the root cause of the problem and the actual language condition that is affecting the child. This will be the first step to devising a strategy that will help your child to overcome the condition.