Language is about understanding spoken words and using words to communicate ideas to others. Language is used in just about every situation in life and is vital for learning.
- Language disorders involve (1) the form of the language (phonology, morphology, syntax), (2) the content of language (semantics), and/or (3) the function of language in social communication (pragmatics) in any combination. Children with language disorders may experience difficulty with one or many aspects of language.
- Cause: While the cause of many speech-language impairments is not known, experts believe that they are caused by conditions that affect brain development either before, during, or after birth, such as muscular disorders, hearing problems or developmental delays. Language disorders may be developmental or acquired. A genetic factor is sometimes considered a contributing cause in some cases. Sometimes, children are not exposed to enough language to learn the rules. Sometimes the child has no need to talk because parents respond to pointing and gestures instead of speech, but most language disabilities occur without an identifiable cause.
- Assessment includes:
- Receptive language - understanding the meaning of language.
- Expressive language - the ability to express words using language. Some children can form words easily but have severe difficulties with finding the words they need and organizing them to make what they want to say make sense.
- Pragmatic language - using language for different purposes (promising, requesting), changing language for listener needs (peer vs. teacher), following the rules of conversation (turn taking, introducing topics of conversation, and staying on the topic), and non-verbal (body) language.
- Effect on communication / education
v In order to qualify for any speech/language services, the speech/language impairment must have an impact on the student's educational performance.