What are Language Difficulties
Language delay/disorder is a term used to cover difficulties that some children have with their language development. This may affect their expressive language (use of language), and/or their receptive language (understanding). Language difficulties can affect a range of areas including their understanding, their ability to form sentences, their use of grammar, telling stories/narratives. A variety of other terms are also used to describe language delay/disorder including Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).
Children show patterns of errors in their language. These might be patterns which are observed in typically developing younger children or non-developmental patterns. The terms ‘delay’ and ‘disorder’ may be used to describe these different patterns, but these terms are also used interchangeably.
What is Development Language Disorder
There has been ongoing debate about the most appropriate terminology to use for children that have difficulties with expressive and/or receptive language skills that impact on everyday life, for example, difficulties producing or understanding complex sentences, or learning new words. Until recently the terms ‘Specific Language Impairment’, ‘language disorder’ and ‘developmental language impairment’ were used.
The panel agreed on the term ‘Language Disorder’ to refer to children with language difficulties that create obstacles to communication or learning in everyday life and is associated with poor prognosis. ‘Developmental Language Disorder’ was the agreed term for when the language disorder is not associated with a known condition such as autism spectrum disorder, brain injury, genetic conditions such as Down’s syndrome and sensorineural hearing loss.
Speech and language therapy can help people with DLD to develop their language abilities to their maximum potential. SLTs will teach strategies to the child and those around them to reduce the impact of their communication difficulties and support them to access education and social activities.
Input by an SLT may include:
> Identifying, assessing and diagnosing the communication difficulties.
> Developing and delivering strategies and programmes of therapy to support a child with DLD.
> Supporting schools to integrate strategies into the classroom in order to maximise children’s language learning and use.
> Helping others eg teachers and parents in their use of communication techniques and communication friendly classrooms.
> Raising awareness, educating and training professionals in identifying and working with children with DLD.
> Supporting parents with what to expect following their child’s DLD diagnosis.
Pre teaching topic vocabulary
Vocabulary knowledge in young children is strongly linked with their future school achievement and literacy development. Having a large vocabulary also helps children to think and learn about the world. Children with speech language and communication needs often have reduced vocabularies and need support to expand their vocabulary. Pre-Teaching Vocabulary (PTV) is a structured approach for teaching children how to learn new words and is particularly effective for teaching children with speech, language and communication needs. The Widgit PTV pack explains this approach and provides free materials for use: https://www.widgit.com/resources/literacy-language/vocabulary/pre-teaching-vocabulary/PVT-Booklet.pdf
See the Babcock website: https://www.babcockldp.co.uk/disadvantaged-vulnerable-learners/send/communication-and-interaction/one-minute-guides for more useful one minute guides
Lots of our information has been taken from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RSCLT) website – https://www.rcslt.org/speech-and-language-therapy/clinical-information/developmental-language-disorder/#section-1