Language Delay

“…ANY SPEECH OR LANGUAGE DELAY IS LIKELY TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT EFFECT ON THE CHILD’S SOCIAL, ACADEMIC SKILLS AND BEHAVIOR…” -American Speech Hearing Association

Language is broken into three areas. Receptive, Expressive and the social use of language (pragmatics and social skills).

Receptive language is defined by what a person understands. Can they follow simple and multi step commands (raise your hand and then sit). Identify objects, understand what others are saying, or follow conversation? If a toddler has a suspected language delay he may not understand the language or commands you are inadvertently giving, and it appears that the child is not listening. My answer is rule a language delay with an evaluation.

Expressive language is characterized by the ability to express ideas and or thoughts. A toddler who is frustrated will expressively communicate through behavior (tantrums, throwing, hitting) instead of words. Anomia (without words) most often affiliated with aphasia, stroke, Traumatic brain injury clients have difficulty communicating basic needs and wants and overall discourse.

Pragmatic language or social language is how language is used. In toddlers, play skills and language skills are parallel. Toddlers learn to use objects and their function through pretend play. Right or traumatic brain injured clients may have difficulty communicating for social purposes (eye contact, greetings, reciprocity, asking questions.)

(Source: www.asha.org/public/speech/development/chart)

In regards to pediatric evaluations I will often hear, “He never listens.. He does what he wants to do.”

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