Language refers to the way in which we understand and use words to share ideas, feelings, desires, thoughts and information. Language is made up of several components including:
*The meaning of words
*The inclusion of grammar to create meaning
*How we join words together to create sentences
*How we use and select language to suit a situation
Children can experience difficulties in one or more area of communication, such as receptive or expressive language, speech sounds and social communication.
Receptive language is a child’s ability to understand and process spoken or written language. Children develop their receptive language skills as they grow older. Signs that a child may be experiencing difficulties with their receptive language vary with age, but may include:
*Difficulties with following directions
*Difficulties with answering questions
*Difficulties with understanding long or complex sentences.
*Difficulties with the meaning of words and understanding figurative language such as similes, metaphors, humour and sarcasm
*Repeating back what is said to them
*They may appear to ignore or not listen to you
*They may not keep up with classmates, either with school-work or socially
*They may have behavioural problems, be acting up in class or experience frustration.
*They may be easily distracted or drift off when listening to speech or stories.
*They may appear to be forgetful. For example, they only complete part of an instruction or remember part of a shopping list.
Expressive language is a child’s ability to express themselves and share meaning, generally through speaking or writing. It can also include alternative forms of communication such as signing, alternative and augmentative (AAC) communication in the form of communication supports/aids. As children grow, they learn to join words to create sentences, using correct word order, vocabulary and grammar. It is different to speech sound difficulties, as expressive language is how your child shares meaning and expresses themselves, not the way in which they pronounce sounds or words.
Signs that a child may be experiencing difficulties with their expressive language vary with age, but may include:
*Poor sentence or grammatical structure
*Limited content in their speech
*Confused meaning and grammar
*They generally use short, simple sentences.
*Difficulties with expressing their message and coming to the point
*Difficulties with starting or participating in conversations.
*Difficulties with recalling or retelling information.
*Difficulties with completing oral and written narratives and/or assignments.
*They may have trouble finding the right words
*Unfamiliar people find it difficult to understand them
If you have any concerns, our Central Coast Speech Pathologists can help by assessing your child to identify if they are experiencing difficulties with their receptive and/or expressive language. Our private online video sessions is also an easy way to support your child during COVID-19. A formal language assessment identifies specific areas of development and strengths that your child may have, so that intervention may be planned with your child and family. Some children benefit from one-to-one therapy to develop and expand specific language skills, and sessions may be provided at our clinic, in the home or at school. School-based language intervention is useful to help your child develop and use skills and strategies in their learning environment, so that participation and engagement may be maximised.