Receptive and expressive language difficulties
Receptive (understanding) language difficulties may include problems with following directions, interpreting spoken sentences and answering questions. Children with expressive language difficulties experienced challenges with learning vocabulary and grammar, impacting on their ability to converse. Many children have problems with both understanding and talking.
What’s the ‘normal’ age that a child should begin to talk?
A child’s speech and language development typically follows a predictable pattern. Therefore, you know what to expect for your child and when to hit certain speech and language milestones. It is considered a delay when your child does not develop the skill expected for his age.
The following are common signs of a delay:
- doesn’t use common gestures like waving “byebye” or starting to point
- doesn’t babble as if he is talking to you, e.g. bababa, mamama
- doesn’t respond to own name and recognise familiar adults’ names
- doesn’t direct communication to you to let you know he needs something
- hasn’t attempted to say his first words
- unable to identify common body parts
- says fewer than 100 words
- unable to combine two words together most of the time, e.g. car go
- doesn’t copy words and actions readily
- has no pretend play, e.g. feeding a doll
- doesn’t use sentences in more than 3 words in length
- doesn’t have adult like grammar in sentences, e.g. two dogs
- unable to story-tell or tell you what happened recently
- doesn’t ask questions
The above acts as a rough guide. If in doubt, always seek professional help.
Language Assessment and Therapy
Speech-language therapists evaluate language skills in young children mostly during play and work specifically on the language problems found during the evaluation. Exemplar treatment goals are developing optimal language use, teach caregivers how to communicate with your child or even to help your child develop communication by using other communicative methods.