What are Language Delays?
Early Language Delays
Early language delays refer to when a child’s language develops more slowly than their peers and they are not meeting the typical speech-language milestones. 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 behavioural concerns or seem inattentive. Some examples may include difficulties with 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 sentences or phrases, following grammatical rules
- Semantics – meaning 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