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He also may speak in two-word sentences and have trouble answering even simple questions.

Language development: children years | Raising Children Network

Their challenge is mastering and applying the rules of language, like grammar. Mixed receptive-expressive language issues involve difficulty understanding and using spoken language. Language disorders can either be acquired or developmental. An acquired language disorder, like aphasia , shows up only after the person has had a neurological illness or injury.

This could be a stroke or traumatic head injury. A developmental language disorder is much more common in children. Kids with developmental language disorders often start speaking later than their peers. In fact, kids with developmental language disorders typically have average or above-average intelligence. They usually have problems with receptive and expressive language skills before the age of 4. As many as 5 percent of school-age children are believed to have a language disorder.

This makes language disorders some of the more common childhood disorders. Of the 6.

Most of the research has focused on the broader category of speech and language impairments SLI , which includes language disorders and speech disorders. That research has been extensive and suggests some possible causes for SLI, such as:. Genes and heredity: Research has found that 20 to 40 percent of children with a family history of speech and language impairment have the condition themselves, compared with about 4 percent of those with no family history of SLI.

Prenatal nutrition: Some research has shown that when a woman takes prenatal folic acid supplements during pregnancy, her baby is less likely to have severe language issues. Other conditions: Autism spectrum disorder , Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities and premature birth might also cause language disorders. Problems with oral communication are the most common sign of language disorders. Kids with receptive language issues may have trouble understanding what other people say.

They could also have difficulty following simple directions and organizing information they hear. Receptive language issues can be hard to spot in very young children. Expressive language issues can be easier to identify early.

ASHA 2018 Kriese, Bangert, & Finestack

This is because kids with expressive language issues may be late to start talking and not speak until age 2. At age 3, they may be talking but hard to understand, and the problems persist into preschool. Some kids, for instance, might understand the stories read to them but not be able to describe them even in a simple way. Language disorders can affect kids in a number of ways, both socially and academically.

Here are some examples. Social skills: Understanding what others are saying and expressing themselves through words helps children form relationships. They may prefer to be alone and become shy or distant. Academic struggles: Some research suggests that children with language disorders also have reading issues. Some kids also struggle with writing because of their limited vocabulary and poor grasp of grammar.

At 15 months, does not look or point at people or objects when they are named by a parent or caregiver. At 36 months, does not have at least a word vocabulary, is not asking for items by name, repeats exactly questions asked by others, seems to have lost some language skills, or is not using complete sentences.


At 48 months, often uses words incorrectly or uses a similar or related word instead of the correct word. The first step in evaluating the problem is to rule out a hearing problem. Hearing issues are a common cause of language problems. There several ways to do this:. Seek professional help privately. Speech-language evaluations may be provided at low cost or for free by local universities that train speech-language pathologists.

You also can receive a referral from your pediatrician. If your child is a baby or toddler, you can request an evaluation , free of charge. No referral is required. It provides services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, and their families. If your child is being treated privately, this plan would be called a treatment plan.

Contact your local school district. If your child is already in school, you can contact your local school district to request an evaluation. You can request an evaluation from the public school even if your child is enrolled in private school. When expressive language development lags far behind receptive language abilities, it could be a sign of expressive language issues. That way she can assess if and how weak communication skills hamper his ability to do the things other kids his age do, like playing certain games.

He can understand more than he can say and can follow simple instructions too. He might play and talk at the same time.

Strategies for Encouraging Your Child's Speech and Language Development

Your child will probably also want to talk about a wide range of topics, and her vocabulary will keep growing. And you can look forward to some entertaining stories too. These skills also let him share ideas and opinions. Skip to content Skip to navigation.

What You'll Learn

In their first 12 months, babies develop many of the foundations that underpin speech and language development. And they keep developing language skills at an amazing rate in the first three years of life. Bilingual children can achieve language development milestones at a similar rate to children who speak one language.

But you know your child best.

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