Language skills refer to the ability to understand and use our words to communicate our wants and needs, acquire knowledge, and socialize — from single words to conversations or orations — and to understand and take into account the needs of our listeners. Children can have difficulties in their development of language skills due to specific underlying diagnostic conditions, or simply a quirk in development, whereas adults typically will have language issues due to a medical event or accident. Whether you or your child need just a little professional facilitation to advance these skills, or actual therapeutic intervention, CLK Speech will evaluate and treat you or your child with the most meaningful strategies and comforting manner.
Non-Verbal / Late Talkers / Delayed Language
When your two-year-old isn’t talking it is often just a matter of some professional facilitation. The degree of concern and need for intervention rises with other “developmental red flags” and/or if the child continues to be non-verbal after a period of facilitative training. Sometimes children don’t speak because they do not understand spoken language (see receptive language disorders), other times they may understand what is being said to them, but be delayed in their output of words (see expressive disorders) or both.
Receptive Language Disorders
Your child may difficulty understanding what you are saying or following directions. He/she may not be interested in hearing stories being read to him. Children need to understand what words mean — either by words themselves or in the context of spoken sentences — before they can speak meaningfully.
Expressive Language Disorders
Expressive Language difficulties are exhibited if a child has a limited vocabulary, short, or poorly formed sentences, and has difficulty telling you something that happened in an organized fashion. Sometimes children will speak but only repeat what is being said. This is called echolalia. Echolalia is associated with difficulties in processing language and frequently observed in those with autism spectrum disorders (see pragmatic disorders).
Social Communication / Pragmatic Disorders
Sometimes children or adults may understand and speak well, but not say the right things at the right times. A child may appear rude because they may speak to an adult the way they speak to peers. Or adults may appear out of line when they speak with their boss in a way that seems disrespectful. They may not greet or say goodbye or know how to ask for help. They may have difficulties, staying on topic or getting off a topic that is of interest to them—but not necessarily to the listener. Pragmatic disorders are related to social cognitive processing. (See Social Cognition.)
Higher-Order Language Disorders
These are the language skills that become increasingly important as the child matures. It involves the ability to think abstractly rather than concretely, and to think critically. It is essential for academic success and the ability to make appropriate decisions and solve problems. (see Language-Learning & Literacy, Cognition).
Loss or diminishment of language skills often occurs as a result of a stroke or other brain injury. The person often has difficulty finding the words he wants to communicate and might say things that don’t make sense to the listener. He/she will have difficulty understanding conversations especially as the number of speakers increase. This often results in frustration both to the person who is having the difficulty as well as the people who care about him or her.