Language Disorder

A language disorder , also known as a communication disorder, is when a person or child expresses a difficulty in communicating and using language effectively. This can occur in written, spoken or sign language. A child with a language disorder will have language capabilities well below their actual age. For example, a six year old child who is only able to comprehend four year old reading material. If you suspect your child to have a language disorder, please read on below now to see how the Speechworx team can assist.

Areas Of A Language Disorder

Generally, language disorders will be seen in certain areas of a child’s life. Namely:

  • Language Skills: the inability to formulate coherent sentences and speak effectively
  • Grammar Skills: confused syntax and morphology of a simple sentence
  • Vocabulary Skills: a small vocabulary well below that of children of their age
  • Questioning Skills: the difficulty expressed in the construction of a sentence
  • Literacy Skills: a difficulty in reading text that is suited to their age group

As you can see, there are a few areas in which a child may show that they have a language disorder.

Causes Of A Language Disorder

To date, it is suggested that language disorders have a strong connection to the child’s genetics. If a parent has struggle with language, it is highly likely that a child will be the same. Other neurological disorders such as ADD andautism also have a huge contribution to language disorders.

Assessment and treatment of Language in infants and pre- school children and School- age children: A language disorder can be defined as an abnormal acquisition, comprehension or use of spoken or written language. This is inclusive of all expressive and receptive language skills. Children with a language disorder can be classified in the following categories:

  • Primary versus Secondary: for some children the presence of a reduced ability to acquire language is their primary difficulty with an absence of an  impairment in other developmental areas. For other children the language disorder occurs in correlation with another impairment (intellectual disability).
  • Developmental versus acquired: A developmental language disorder is present from birth, whereas, an acquired language disorder is associated with the disruption or loss of function due to an illness or injury.
  • Delayed versus aberrant acquisition: children with a delayed language disorder, typically acquire the skills at a slower development than typically developing children. Children with aberrant language acquisition display deviant or abnormal patterns of language skill development from the normal sequence of development.
  • Range of severity: this can be measured to range across a spectrum from mild to profound.


  • Comprehension (receptive language): this areas depicts the ability to derive meaning from incoming auditory or visual messages.
  • Language production (expressive language): this process involves the combination of linguistic symbols to form meaningful messages. A language disorder is classified into various components, namely; semantics, morphology, syntax, pragmatics and phonology.
  • Assessment and treatment of Literacy: Speech- language Pathologists play a significant role in the acquisition of literacy. Literacy involves the development of reading and writing skills. Oral language is the underlying foundation for later development of reading and writing skills, further known as emergent literacy, which extends from birth through preschool years.
  • Emergent literacy: As a child develops they also form an increasing awareness of print and an understanding of the functions of literacy. These crucial pre- school years provide a foundational knowledge about print through natural experiences in their home and school environment.
  • Metalinguistic knowledgethis is the ability to understand and manipulate aspects of the linguistic system. Phonological awareness is a metalinguistic skill. This involves a various number of components used to manipulate the sound structure of language. This is done through rhyming, blending and segmenting of sounds in words, syllables or phonemes.


Speech therapists play a critical role and are based on the following premises:

  1. Oral language is the foundation for the acquisition of reading and writing.
  2. Oral and written language build each other and form a reciprocal relationship.
  3. Children with oral language deficits have difficulty acquiring the ability to read and write and vis =a versa.
  4. Reading and writing deficits could involve any of the following subsystems of language: phonology, morpho- syntax, semantics and pragmatics.
  5. Speech therapists have knowledge of the developmental norms if typical and atypical patterns of language development. As well as the assessment and the intervention for children.
  6. An interdisciplinary approach is pertinent for the carryover of target goals and skill acquisition.

Treatment Of Language Disorders

If you suspect your child to have a language disorder, and know that you or your partner had one when you were younger, we suggest bringing them down to the Speechworx office. We are able to treat children with various language disorders and help them become more fluent in day to day life. Be sure to get in touch with the team now!