What is a language disorder?

A language disorder is difficulty understanding or expressing thoughts and ideas to others. This difficulty with language can occur in speaking, writing, or both. According to the The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), "When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language), he or she has a language disorder." Every child and every situation is unique, as is the care you and your child will receive at Educational Inspiration.


Could my child have a language disorder?

If your child has a language disorder, they may:

  • Have trouble following directions, especially if they involve more than one step. Example: Pick up your socks, put on your pajamas, and brush your teeth.
  • Not answer questions with the expected information, or not make sense with their responses. Example: "Where are you going?" "I’m playing with toys." Children with difficulties answering questions may not understand requested information, so they may not connect the word ‘where’ with a request for a place, the word ‘who’ with a request for a person, etc.
  • Have difficulty identifying things being discussed.  Example: A parent request to pick up the red ball results in child picking up a different object. They also may have difficulty in school with learning vocabulary.

If your child has trouble expressing their thoughts or ideas they may:

  • Not ask for more information. In early childhood, most children are curious and ask lots of questions! Some children may have trouble knowing what kinds of information they need and how to request that information.
  • Have a limited or weak vocabulary. If your child frequently seems at a loss for words, as if the name is lost to the child, it may be an indicator of vocabulary difficulties. If your child speaks in vague words like “stuff, things, whatchamacallits, etc.” this can also be a sign of vocabulary difficulty.
  • Express their thoughts in ways that don’t make sense to others. Example: "Tomorrow I ate a hamburger." These kids may also show difficulty in writing complete sentences expected for their age.
  • Use the wrong grammatical forms of words. Example: "Him is going to school." "I walked-ed to school." If these issues are not corrected, they translate into writing problems later.

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, it might be time to seek help to allow your child to develop fully.

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What do I do if I suspect my child has a language disorder?

Seek help from a speech-language pathologist. Early identification is key. A thorough evaluation will provide you with information about your child’s strengths and weaknesses in language. Educational Inspiration then utilizes this information to partner with your family and develop a plan to address specific difficulties. Language disorders are not as uncommon as you may think. Together we'll work to get your child on the path to effective communication. Call Educational Inspiration today for a free 15-minute phone consultation.

Children with language disorders may also have difficulty with reading and writing.

If your child has issues rhyming, connecting sounds with letters, or learning the ABCs, they may need a reading evaluation.

The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.
— Peter Pan