Speech Therapy

Developmental Language Disorders – An Overview

Developmental language disorder is also known as language delay. In this condition, a child affected is unable to learn language as quickly as his or her peers. For example, a five year old child can understand and speak language just like a three year old. Children having developmental language disorders can have a normal level of intelligence or have a condition of mental retardation. This may cause a delayed language in them. If developmental language disorders is not associated with mental retardation or any other problem, then it can be genetic or hereditary. Read on to know more about the developmental language disorders.

According to recent brain imaging (neuroimaging) studies, differences in the shapes of the brains of the affected persons were identified. In addition, developmental language disorders can occur due to loss of hearing, which can be either transient (middle ear infection) or permanent (genetic or congenital -present at birth).

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder – An Overview

An Overview of Developmental Language Disorders

Children who are unable to develop language skills appropriate for their age are either language disordered or language delayed. Most often, there is no exact cause for a language disorder.There are several potential causes for language disorders/delays which include:

  • Lack of stimulation

  • Physical handicap preventing the child from interacting with their surrounding

  • Autism

  • Cognitive impairment

  • Hearing impairment

Children can suffer from expressive language impairments, receptive language impairments or both. A few affected children do “catch up” to other normal children although many continue to have a problem. Also, the impending gap between the affected child and other children’s skill level keeps increasing over time. There are several factors which can affect the outcome. Hence, it is difficult to predict how great the gains will be or who will “recover”.

One should be aware of the fact that language disorders are dynamic; different demands are made on a child’s language system with different stages of his/her development. If a child has a language impairment in the preschool years, then he/she may catch up with others by the age of 5-6 years old. However, when the child learns to read and the demands change with time, his/her difficulties and problems become apparent.

Receptive Language Impairments

In this disorder, the affected child has a problem understanding language. Also, he or she has a very limited vocabulary. The child fails to understand the meanings of the word endings – adding an “ed” to a verb means that the action is past or adding “s” makes a noun plural. Also, he or she may find it hard to understand nonverabl signs and gestures such as body language. They fail to understand indirect requests or sarcasm.

Expressive Language Impairments

This disorder shows up in how a affected child speaks. In each sentence, he or she may use only a few words. Also, they can leave off little words such as “are” and “is”, or word endings completely. The affected child will be ignorant the names of many words. They can be rude by being too blunt or direct. Also, they don’t know how to use language appropriately. They can also change topics suddenly, use ambiguous references or be ignorant of their partner’s needs.

The Conclusion

One fact you should be aware of is that developmental language disorders never actually “goes away” as they are a permanent fixture in the affected person’s life. The best measure is to consult a speech-language pathologist to correctly diagnose and treat these language disorders. With patience and practice, one can try to improve his/her language disorder.

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