Language disorder - children - Symptom
Developmental aphasia; Developmental dysphasia; Delayed language; Specific developmental language disorder; SLI; Communication disorder - language disorder
A child with language disorder may have one or two of the symptoms listed below, or many of the symptoms. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Children with a receptive language disorder have difficulty understanding langugae. They may have:
- A hard time understanding what other people have said
- Problems following directions that are spoken to them
- Problems organizing their thoughts
Children with an expressive language disorder have problems using language to express what they are thinking or need. These children may:
- Have a hard time putting words together into sentences, or their sentences may be simple and short and the word order may be off
- Have difficulty finding the right words when talking, and often use placeholder words such as "um"
- Have a vocabulary that is below the level of other children the same age
- Leave words out of sentences when talking
- Use certain phrases over and over again, and repeat (echo) parts or all of questions
- Use tenses (past, present, future) improperly
Because of their language problems, these children may have difficulty in social settings. At times, language disorders may be part of the cause of severe behavioral problems.
Signs and tests:
A medical history may reveal that the child has close relatives who have also had speech and language problems.
Any child suspected of having this disorder can have standardized receptive and expressive language tests. A speech and language therapist or neuropsychologist will administer these tests.
An audiogram should also be done to rule out deafness, which is one of the most common causes of language problems.
- Reviewed last on: 6/29/2010
- Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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.
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