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 

What does therapy look like? 

We will work with you to find a format fits your child's and your family's needs the best. We currently offer both in-home and teletherapy sessions. 

Direct Teaching with Functional Activities

Our sessions involve direct teaching, but are combined with functional activities. We aim to use activities that involve your child's personal interests and activities that are related to skills your child will need to succeed at school, at home and with their personal relationships. We all learn best when we are motivated and engaged. 

Language therapy for older children includes portions of direct teaching. Older children are able to benefit and understand when we directly teach and explain language structure and rules. However, we quickly integrate those concepts back into activities that are similar to what they would encounter in their daily life. We find ways to incorporate their personal interests into our language practice to make it engaging and to set them up for success if they need to use those similar language skills on their own (e.g., working on sequencing, sentence structure and description skills about a motivating YouTube video is more engaging, and the child is more likely to practice and use those language structures and concepts correctly when they talk about the video with their friends after our sessions!).

 

We keep the sessions fun because communicating and interacting with people should be motivating! 

Home Practice & Parent-Coaching

Sessions will include teaching and showing parents how to directly support their child. We will provide home practice activities for you to complete with your child to carry over the learning we have done in the session. We will also support you in creating opportunities at home for your child to practice their language skills. Language is everywhere and often there are easy activities or slight modifications you can apply to what you are already doing to encourage more language. The more exposure, repetitions and opportunities we can provide, the better!

We are passionate about parent education and empowerment because parent involvement leads to the greatest improvements. We also want to show you all the great things you are already doing, so that you can be confident in building upon your existing skills! 

Start now! 

Man Carrying Child in Arms
1. Book your free consultation

Come chat with us! Ask your questions and share your concerns. We'll also let you know if you and your child may benefit from more SLP support or if everything is looking good!

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2. Learn & Try some strategies

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