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Public Schools


Language Disorders


What are some signs or symptoms of language disorders?

Some children have problems with understanding, also called receptive language. They may have trouble:

  • Understanding what gestures mean
  • Following directions
  • Answering questions
  • Identifying objects and pictures
  • Taking turns when talking with others

Some children have problems talking, also called expressive language. They may have trouble:

  • Asking questions
  • Naming objects
  • Using gestures
  • Putting words together into sentences
  • Learning songs and rhymes
  • Using correct pronouns, like "he" or "they"
  • Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going

Many children have problems with both understanding and talking.

Some children also have trouble with early reading and writing, such as:

  • Holding a book right side up
  • Looking at pictures in a book and turning pages
  • Telling a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end
  • Naming letters and numbers
  • Learning the alphabet

What are the types of language disorders?

Problems with understanding are called receptive language disorders. Problems with talking are called expressive language disorders. Children may have problems with both. Sometimes a language disorder is called specific language impairment, or SLI.

Types of language disorders may include problems with:

  • Understanding basic concepts, questions, and directions
  • Learning new words
  • Saying words in the right order
  • Having conversations and telling stories

What do SLPs do when working with individuals with language disorders?

Speech-language pathologists help in a variety of ways when working with children with language disorders. They work directly with children, their teachers, and their parents. SLPs help people understand the important connection between the words that we say and our ability to read and write later on. SLPs help children improve their understanding and use of language. They help children:

  • follow directions
  • talk about and ask for things
  • form short sentences and ask and answer questions
  • tell stories and describe pictures and events

They also help children with beginning reading and writing skills. They build children's awareness of written words in books and in the environment

SLPs talk to parents, caregivers, and teachers about ways to help children improve and enhance their language skills. They help parents understand how to work with their children at home and in every day activities.