Problems with oral communication are the most common sign of language disorders. It’s not clear if there are signs in infancy that might point to an increased risk. The National Institute on Deafness and Child Development (NIDCD) is currently funding a study that will track babies for specific language impairment and autism spectrum disorder until age 3, so we might have more information soon.
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. 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.
Here are other signs of expressive language issues:
- Has a limited vocabulary compared to children the same age
- Frequently says “um” and substitutes general words like “stuff” and “things” for more precise words
- Has trouble learning new vocabulary words
- Leaves out key words and confuses verb tense
- Uses certain phrases over and over again when talking
- Seems frustrated by inability to communicate thoughts
- May not talk much or often, but understands what other people say
- Is able to pronounce words and sounds, but sentences often don’t make sense
- Uses a limited variety of sentence structures when speaking
If you think your child may have a language issue, our Speech and Language Pathologist is here to help. A Speech and Language Assessement can confirm or deny an issue and may shed some light on other facets of your child’s learning profile.