Get answers to your child's growth, nutrition, and feeding behavior questions.
Developmental aphasia; Developmental dysphasia; Delayed language; Specific developmental language disorder; SLI; Communication disorder - language disorder
Language disorder in children refers to problems with either:
Some children only have an expressive language disorder. Others have a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder, meaning that they have symptoms of both conditions.
Children with language disorders are able to produce sounds, and their speech can be understood.
For most infants and children, language develops naturally beginning at birth. To develop language, a child must be able to hear, see, understand, and remember. Children must also have the physical ability to form speech.
Up to 1 out of every 20 children has symptoms of a language disorder. When the cause is unknown, it is called a developmental language disorder.
Problems with receptive language skills usually begin before age 4. Some mixed language disorders are caused by a brain injury, and these are sometimes misdiagnosed as developmental disorders.
Language disorders may occur in children with other developmental problems, autistic spectrum disorders, hearing loss, and learning disabilities. A language disorder may also be caused by damage to the central nervous system, which is called aphasia.
Language disorders are rarely caused by a lack of intelligence.
Language disorders are different than delayed language. With delayed language, the child develops speech and language in the same way as other children, but later. In language disorders, speech and language do not develop normally. The child may have some language skills, but not others. Or, the way in which these skills develop will be different than usual.
Lyon GR, Shaywitz SE, Shaywitz BA. Specific language and learning disabilities. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2007:chap 32.
Sharp HM, Hillenbrand K. Speech and language development and disorders in children. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2008;55:1159-1173.
Simms MD. Language disorders in children: classification and clinical syndromes. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2007;54:437-467.
© 2011 University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). All rights reserved.
UMMC is a member of the University of Maryland Medical System,
22 S. Greene Street, Baltimore, MD 21201. TDD: 1-800-735-2258 or 1.866.408.6885