Language is made up of the words we understand, use, and associate with our environment. Language has five main components: semantics (word meanings), pragmatics (function or rules of conversation), syntax (sentence structure), morphology (word beginnings and endings), and phonology (sound units).

A child with a language disorder may have difficulty understanding the message from others; this is called receptive language disorder. He may have trouble speaking with others and expressing thoughts and feelings; this is called expressive language disorder. A child may have both disorders at the same time.

A child with receptive language disorder may have difficulty:

  • Understanding what people say
  • Understanding gestures
  • Understanding objects, concepts, and ideas
  • Understanding what he or she reads
  • Learning new words
  • Following directions

A child with expressive language disorder may have difficulty:

  • Using words and formulating sentences
  • Expressing thoughts and ideas
  • Telling stories
  • Using gestures
  • Asking / answering questions
  • Labeling objects

Speech and language pathologists (SLPs) will:

  • Evaluate the child’s expressive and receptive skills through play.
  • Use various age-appropriate methods to develop the child’s language skills.
  • Explain more about the techniques that are best for improving the child’s development. The use of toys, books, objects, and/or pictures will help to stimulate the language.