A language disorder refers to a condition in which a person has difficulty understanding what others are saying or expressing his or her thoughts. This condition greatly affects study, work and life. Attention and treatment are needed as soon as possible to minimize unwanted problems.
What is a language disorder?
A language disorder is a communication disorder that affects the way a child understands or uses language. This is different from dysarthria, which affects the way a child makes sounds.
This is usually a developmental disorder that begins in childhood and continues into adulthood. Statistics show that about 5% of children are diagnosed with this disorder between the ages of 3 and 5. In which, it is more than twice as common in boys than in girls.
Language disorders affect all forms of communication and a child’s performance at home, at school, and in social situations. A child with this disorder will have difficulty learning all languages.
2 Common types of language disorders and their telltale signs
According to research, experts classify language disorders into 2 main types. Includes expressive language disorder and language acquisition disorder. Signs will vary depending on the type of disorder and the person’s age. Signs can begin in childhood and continue into adulthood.
Signs of expressive language disorder can show up very early. Children may speak late and use very few words after they start speaking. As they get older, they may use vague or incorrect words.
Meanwhile, signs of language acquisition disorders often appear a little later. Children may not respond to what others say or may respond in off-topic ways. As they get older, they may misunderstand what people say and take things the wrong way.
For both disorders there is a common sign of lack of interaction. Children and adults may avoid talking to people or being in social settings. Information about the two most common types of language disorders are as follows:
1. Expressive language disorder
Expressive language disorder makes it difficult for a person to convey his or her message. People with this disorder can understand what others are saying. However, when it comes to expressing their thoughts, they have difficulty expressing themselves.
Signs usually appear in childhood, but the child does not outgrow this form of the disorder. The challenges will continue into adulthood. Having a difference in learning does not mean that the patient is not intelligent. In fact, they only have difficulty with certain language skills.
Here are signs to recognize expressive language disorders by age:
– Preschool children:
- Start talking later than other children of the same age
- Has a lower-than-average vocabulary
- Use gestures to help win points with others
- Difficulty with early language skills such as rhyming
– Primary school student:
- Use dream words when speaking
- Difficulty remembering words
- Having trouble using words correctly
- Doesn’t talk much, seems withdrawn
- Saying things like “ah”, “yeah”,… to stop the time when you have to struggle with words
– Junior high school student:
- Avoid interacting with teachers and classmates
- Has a limited vocabulary compared to children of the same age
- Pause or give short and simple answers to complex questions
- Drop words, say sentences that are not structured properly
– High School Students:
- Don’t tell stories logically
- Remove pronouns and verbs from the writing exercise
- Avoid social interaction
- Do not participate in group chats
- Difficulty speaking quietly at work, not interacting much with colleagues
- Use short, simple sentences and phrases
- Using the same phrases over and over
- It may be difficult to give a presentation
2. Language acquisition disorder
Language acquisition disorder is a lifelong condition that makes it difficult for a person to know what others are saying. The difficulty is not hearing but understanding the meaning of language.
Trouble with these skills can affect study, work, and daily activities. It can make socializing difficult for both adults and children. Moreover, it also affects self-confidence and self-esteem.
Language acquisition disorder means developmental delay. These signs may appear in preschool age and continue into adulthood. Children who have difficulty with language acquisition will also often have difficulty with expressive language.
People can be diagnosed with a language acquisition disorder at any age. However, it is important to detect and catch it as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is started, the more helpful it will be.
Here are some signs of a language acquisition disorder at any age:
– Preschool children:
- Doesn’t seem to be listening
- Having trouble following instructions
- Having trouble identifying objects
– 2nd graders:
- Having trouble answering questions
- Wait to see what other kids do before acting
- Difficulty concentrating when someone is talking, especially when there is background noise
- Only do half of the mission
– Children in grades 3 – 5:
- Seems to be listening but then doesn’t act
- Give answers that are not related to the conversation or are not very specific
- Interrupting those who are talking
- Often asks people to repeat what they are saying
- Has a limited vocabulary than other children
– Children over 10 years old and adolescents:
- Having trouble following group chats
- Rarely asks questions or makes comments in class conversations or discussions
- Remember details but can’t understand the larger context
- Misunderstanding what is being said
- Not understanding jokes or taking things literally
- Doesn’t seem interested in the conversation
- Avoid joining clubs or activities outside of school hours
- Do not understand the language used at work
- Having trouble keeping up with what people say in meetings
- Having trouble answering questions in a meeting
- Not responding when people are saying something
- Seems shy or withdrawn, withdrawn
- Avoid social gatherings
- Misunderstanding the conversation and misinterpreting everything
Causes of language disorders
Although the exact cause of a language disorder is unknown, it is sometimes linked to a health problem or disability. Such as:
- Brain damaged
- Brain tumor or brain disease
- Developmental disorders (such as autism)
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Birth defects (such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, or fragile X syndrome)
The risk of a language disorder is increased when:
- Premature birth
- Family history of language disorder
- Low birth weight
- Thinking disability
- Hearing loss
- Poor nutrition
- Inability to sustain growth
- Fetal alcoholism syndrome
- Effects of a language disorder
Children with language disorders in preschool age are likely to experience the following problems in the future:
- Reading disorder
- Difficulty in learning
- Struggling with learning and communicating with peers
- Standalone operating problems
- Behavioral problems
- Difficulty interacting with others and building relationships
- Depression, anxiety disorders and other emotional problems
Diagnosing a language disorder
Diagnosing a language disorder begins with the pediatrician ruling out hearing problems or other sensory impairments that may affect language. A speech-language pathologist then assesses the child’s ability to understand and express language.
The language specialist will conduct standardized tests to observe the child:
- Follow the instructions
- Understanding the name of things
- Repeat phrases or rhymes
- Do other language activities
To be diagnosed with a language disorder, a child must have an impairment in the ability to use language to communicate or speak.
Ways to treat language disorders
Treatment of speech disorders requires the cooperation of family members, teachers, superiors (at work), language specialists and doctors. Here are some solutions that may help:
1. Speech therapy
Speech therapy is considered a highly responsive treatment for speech disorders. This therapy may include:
- Individual therapy: This is best for severe speech disorders that require individual attention. Children with related conditions such as ADHD or learning disorders may also benefit most from individual therapy. This also works well for families with complex schedules that don’t allow for strictly scheduled group therapy sessions.
- Group therapy: Group therapy may be the most helpful and effective option for many young children with speech disorders. Group therapy allows children to appreciate the challenges of others. Also work with people whose strengths and weaknesses are different from your child’s. However, it is important that children receive group therapy with others their age. Going to therapy with a child who is significantly younger or older can damage a child’s self-esteem. This makes the child more withdrawn or the therapy is counterproductive.
- In-class therapy: If you are concerned that your child will be bullied or miss out on valuable class time while in speech therapy, you can talk to the school about in-class therapy options. The therapist may visit your child’s class periodically. Simultaneously teach in groups with the teacher. Tailor lessons to help children with language disorders.
Experts recommend that group teaching should only be given to cases of intellectual disability. Group teaching can help children with lower IQs. Simultaneously addressing language disorders and cultivating social skills in a “natural” environment. This is in stark contrast to the “clinical” therapeutic setting.
As your child gets older, you may need to adjust your child’s therapy. Adolescents (especially middle school students) may be embarrassed about receiving speech therapy. Even children start to resist it. For therapy to be effective, the child must be willing to participate.
During adolescence, children may begin to “stable,” and complementary therapy does not always provide more benefit. If your child’s progress seems to be slowing down or he seems reluctant to talk about his therapy sessions, you should talk to a professional to reevaluate your child’s treatment plan.
2. Intervention in learning
While speech therapy is thought to be the most effective way to treat a speech disorder, there are a few other things your child’s school can do to help them practice important skills. You can talk to the school about a number of issues such as:
- Help your child plan ahead: Children with expressive language disorders often have difficulty answering questions on the spot. Teachers can help children by telling them before they are called. This gives the child an opportunity to mentally prepare to respond.
- Ask fewer open-ended questions: Teachers should give children one or more questions that can help children demonstrate what they know without having to elaborate on what is being asked.
- Model correct sentence structure: If your child confuses words or uses inappropriate verbs or sentence structure, ask the teacher to practice the habit of repeating answers using the correct pattern. . Never embarrass children by publicly pointing out their mistakes.
3. Intervention at home
If you have a child with a language disorder, here are some simple things that can help your child develop and maintain language skills:
- Talk or sing to your child as much as possible: This gives your child plenty of opportunities to practice his language skills. This is also considered the key to helping your child develop in a normal direction.
- Resist the urge to finish your child’s sentence: If your child has trouble finding words, resist the urge to finish his sentence. This helps your child build confidence and learn that she can’t rely on you to communicate for herself.
- Educate your child about his own difficulties: This is an important first step, which can help your child adapt and overcome his own language difficulties in the long run.
4. Intervention at Work
Language disorders not only affect children but can also be found in adults. Adults with this disorder have a hard time knowing what to expect in the workplace or communicating with co-workers.
If you have a language disorder, your supervisor can help by:
- Deliver meeting agendas ahead of time: Receiving agendas in advance will help you mentally prepare. Thereby avoiding causing a feeling of ambiguity and confusion before the questions of superiors.
- Give notice when employees are asked to speak: If you need to give a presentation or speak, ask your boss to warn you in advance. That way you can prepare your comments as well as anticipate any questions that might come your way.
- Give written feedback instead of verbal feedback: Whenever possible, ask your boss to email you a question instead of going to your desk and asking in person. When asked via email, you can compose a well-thought-out written response.
5. Psychological treatment
In some cases, language disorders can lead to other psychological problems. For example, stress, depression, anxiety disorders, etc. At this time, the patient needs to receive early psychological treatment to balance emotions as well as behavior. Especially to prevent self-harming behaviors.
Psychotherapy can be done by a counselor or psychiatrist. It is important that you visit your doctor as soon as possible for support. Depending on each specific case, different methods will be applied accordingly.
Untreated speech disorders can have long-term consequences. In addition to affecting the formation of relationships at school, work and in the social environment, it also increases the risk of experiencing other psychological disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to examine and actively treat when detecting suspicious signs.