Children with language disorders have trouble learning vocabulary and grammar despite the fact that they have otherwise normal intelligence and development.

What is language?

Language is a code that we use in order to communicate our thoughts and understand others. This code is made up of rules that we learn, such as how words are put together to form sentences.

What is a language disorder?

Children learn language by listening to the language around them and learning the rules of the language. Some children struggle to learn language. They may learn words very slowly and have a small vocabulary. They may put words together in sentences in the wrong order or fail to add important grammar markers, like the “ing” on “running” or past tense “ed” on “walked.” For example, a four-year-old with a language disorder might still speak in two-word sentences, use a restricted number of words, and sound much more like a two-year-old. Some children have difficulties learning language due to hearing loss, autism, or developmental delays, but many language disorders occur without an identifiable cause.

Child Language DisordersWill a child outgrow a language disorder?

Some children who are late talkers may begin to talk and develop language normally. However, most children who have a language disorder do not outgrow the problem. They require treatment to help them learn to speak like other children their age.

Is it important to treat language disorders?

Language disorders can make it difficult to interact with others. This can affect social and emotional development, and it can impair the ability to form friendships. Language disorders are also known to affect a child's ability to learn to read and write. For these reasons, a language disorder can have a long-term effect on later vocational status. In fact, the quality of our lives is affected by the adequacy of our ability to communicate. So, it is very important to treat language disorders as early as possible.

Who can help?

A speech-language pathologist certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) can treat language disorders.

Useful Links

At the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic, we provide language treatment for children with language disorders. Students in training provide services under the direct supervision of certified speech-language pathologists using up-to-date, research-based treatments. Call the clinic for information, 724-357-2451.