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When Kids Struggle to Understand and Be Understood Through Language

When Kids Struggle to Understand and Be Understood Through Language

The role that language plays in negotiating the world around us is important — whether expressing ourselves or receiving information. If your child is having difficulty understanding or being understood where language is concerned, it may be a sign of spoken language disorder.

As speech therapists and pathologists specializing in kids, the team here at Celebrations Speech Group understands how difficult it can be to identify a language or communication issue in your child when they first learn to speak. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together a few signs that your child may have a spoken language disorder

A spoken language disorder explained

Each child learns to communicate in their own unique ways, but they still need to meet certain milestones and criteria for language. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a spoken language disorder is “A significant impairment in the acquisition and use of language.”

Previously known as a receptive-expressive language disorder, a language disorder is neither a delay in learning language nor a hearing issue. Instead, a child has trouble understanding or making themselves understood through language.

A language disorder can be a standalone issue, or it might be tied to another condition, such as:

Interestingly, if your child learns one or more languages at the same time, the language disorder affects each of the languages.

Signs of a language disorder

There are some common signs of a spoken language disorder, including:

This list of signs is an oversimplified one, as the symptoms of a language disorder can be very complex and subtle. 

Behaviorally, kids with a spoken language disorder can start to vocalize less out of frustration and isolate themselves since they feel they can’t make themselves understood. They may ask you to repeat yourself, or they might delay in responding to you or pretend that they didn’t hear you in the first place. They may not socialize well with other kids and play alone instead.

As you can imagine, many of these behaviors are ones that almost all kids display at one point or another. With a language disorder, you should look for concerning trends in these behaviors.

If we haven’t made this clear yet, identifying a spoken language disorder on your own isn’t easy. If you suspect your child is having trouble with language, the best way to find out whether there’s a spoken language disorder is to see us for an extensive evaluation.

If we do find an issue, the good news is that, through speech therapy, we can help your child to communicate more effectively.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of spoken language disorders in children, please contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule an appointment.

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