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Language Therapy

Speech-Language Pathologists can support children who have developmental language disorders (DLD). Children diagnosed with DLD can have accompanying expressive or receptive language difficulties. 

Expressive Language Difficulties 

Children who have expressive language difficulties have challenges with communicating their thoughts and ideas and using language effectively. Your child could also be diagnosed with an expressive language delay or disorder. These children can present with: 

  • Limited vocabulary. These children will use a greater proportion of general words (e.g., "I like that thing") instead of the exact word (e.g., "I like that porcupine"). These children may also use words incorrectly (e.g., referring to all four legged animals as "dogs", or referring to all buildings as a "house") or not understand how words can be related (e.g., "apple" and "orange" are related because they are both fruit) 

  • Simple sentences. Children with expressive language difficulties may use less complex sentences or use less descriptive vocabulary. They may use the same starter sentences (carrier phrases) and the same connecting words to communicate (e.g., "I went to the car, and then Mommy and me went to the park, and then I went on the monkey bars, and then I went on the slide, and then we went home") 

  • Grammatical mistakes. Grammatical mistakes are appropriate for children learning language. However, children with expressive language difficulties may make mistakes that are no longer appropriate for their age. 

  • Word order. Children with expressive language difficulties can have difficulty making sentences with the correct word order. At times, their words will come out "jumbled" or "mixed up". 

  • Challenges with higher language tasks e.g., telling stories, explaining sequences or steps to complete a task 

Receptive Language Difficulties

Children who have receptive language difficulties have challenges with understanding language. Your child could also be diagnosed with a receptive language delay or disorder. At times, these children can seem like they are not listening, spacing out or ignoring instructions. Sometimes they can be seen as misbehaving children who don't listen! However these observations may reflect an underlying difficulty with understanding language. These children present with difficulties with: 

  • Following directions.Children can have difficulty understanding the words in the instructions or the concepts involved (e.g., "before you leave, push in your chair). They may also lack the attention or short term memory to first hear and then carry out the directions. 

  • Understanding grammar. There is so much meaning embedded in all the small grammatical units in the English language. Children who have receptive language difficulties may have a hard time understanding the additional pieces of information coded by grammar (e.g., there is difference in meaning between "She will find the puppy" compared to "She finds the puppy") 

  • Understanding vocabulary. Children with receptive language difficulties can have challenges with understanding what words mean. Sometimes, children can know a number of words (breadth) but have a shallow understanding of the words and their associations (depth), different ways to use the words, or the subtle difference between similar words (e.g., "sprint" vs "jog"). 

  • Understanding questions. Some children may not understand what various WH question words mean (who, what, where, when, why, how) and the types of information these questions are asking for. 

What do we work on?

Expressive Language

Using Language

  • Increasing vocabulary (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs)

  • Improving grammar

  • Improving sentence structure 

  • Improving word order 

  • Increasing sentence length 

  • Higher level language tasks e.g., telling stories, explaining concepts and directions 

Receptive Language

Understanding Language

  • Following directions

  • Understand basic concepts​​

  • Whole-body listening skills

  • Understanding grammar

  • Understanding more words and deeper understanding of existing words 

  • Understanding and responding to questions 

Get support today!

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Come chat with us! Ask your questions and share your concerns. We'll let you know if therapy would be helpful.

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Learn tips and strategies

We have great resources for parent tips and tricks, and also information on speech, language and feeding development. 

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