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Language Disorders

A language disorder may involve one or all of the areas listed below:

  • Difficulty understanding and using grammar.
  • Difficulty understanding words and choosing words to express ideas.
  • Difficulty using language for a variety of purposes and in a variety of situations.

The British Medical Journal (2002) reported that moderate to severe language disorders in young children may lead to long-term problems affecting learning, school achievement, and behavior.

Receptive Language refers to the skills involved in understanding language.

  • The ability to hear differences in sounds. For example, "car" and "tar" mean two different things
  • Being able to remember what is heard. For example, repeating a series of words or following 2-step directions.
  • Understanding what new vocabulary words and concepts mean.
  • Understanding different grammatical forms. For example, understanding that "dog" and "dogs" mean two different things.

Expressive Language refers to the skills of being precise, complete, and clear when expressing thoughts and feelings, answering questions, relating events, and carrying on a conversation.

  • Choosing word forms and word order appropriately. For example, saying past tense words and plurals with -ed or -s on the end.
  • Choosing the best words to express a thought. For example, saying the word "socks" instead of "stuff".
  • Using a wide variety of social language functions. For example, starting conversations, asking questions, using greetings and farewells, and talking about an event.