Language Disorder: What to Look For

Language disorder is present from early childhood, though symptoms may not be evident until later in life when the demands for more complex language increase. If a child has difficulty comprehending language, she may have trouble understanding or processing what other people say. As a result, she may find it unusually hard to follow directions and organize her thoughts. Her sentences may be unusually short or simple, or the order of her words might seem odd or incorrect. A child with language disorder may omit words from sentences, or rely on placeholder sounds, such as “um,” while searching for the “correct” word. Other signs of the expressive side of language disorder include repeating, or “echoing” parts of questions, or questions in their entirety, and the incorrect use of tenses. A child with language disorder may appear shy or reluctant to talk, especially to someone who is not a family member or otherwise familiar to them.