What are Language Delays?


Early Language Delays

Children with speech-language delays are at greater risk for experiencing difficulties in the area of literacy. Fortunately, language delays can be identified early. Toddlers as young as 18 months who are not speaking (or using few words) may benefit from early identification and intervention. Parent training is a key method in language facilitation, as it is important to integrate various strategies throughout the child’s day.

Receptive Language Delays

Receptive language delays are when an individual has difficulty understanding language. Individuals with receptive language delays may demonstrate behavioral concerns or seem inattentive. Some examples of difficulties may include trouble following directions, answering questions, or understanding stories.

Expressive Language Delays

Expressive language refers to the production of language, putting thoughts and ideas into spoken or written words. Expressive language delays may affect one or more of the following areas of language:

  • Syntax – combining words into sentence or phrases, following grammatical rules
  • Semantics – meanings of words
  • Morphology – combining small units of language to form new words (e.g. sleep, sleeping, slept)

Social Language Skills

Social components of language are also known as pragmatic skills, which include:

  • Maintaining eye-contact
  • Taking turns during activities and in conversation (e.g. raising hand, not interrupting)
  • Requesting, commenting, and sharing information appropriately
  • Maintaining the topic of conversation
  • Understanding and using gestures and facial expressions

Literacy Delays (Reading and Writing)

Literacy is an essential skill for learning. There are many skills a child must acquire before they are able to read and write. Some of these skills include:

  • Book Awareness (e.g. how to hold a book, when to turn the page, reading from left to right)
  • Phonological Awareness (e.g. syllables, rhyming, identifying beginning sounds)
  • Letter-sound Correspondence (e.g. letter S says “sss”)
  • Decoding (i.e. sounding words out)
  • Sight Word Recognition

Treatment Options

When children have difficulty with any of these foundational skills they are likely to have difficulties learning to read and write. Children may also struggle with later developing literacy skills including:

  • Reading Fluency
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Skills (e.g. sentences, paragraphs)
  • Story Structure (e.g. plot, setting, characters, beginning, middle, end)

If you have concerns about your child’s literacy development, please contact the ASC team for a comprehensive assessment and treatment plan. Our experienced clinicians provide treatment using programs such as Jolly Phonics and Lively Letters (Reading with TLC).

Clients can receive treatment at our clinic in Burlington or from the comfort of their own home using our Online/Telepractice.

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