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Language Disorder

Language disorders involve linguistic processing deficits that affect spoken or written language. These types of disorders may involve receptive or expressive language.
Two common language disorders are aphasia and dyslexia, but there are many other language disorders and each has different symptoms. It is important to note that language disorders are distinct from speech disorders as they involve the processing of language while speech disorders involve problems with the physical production of language. Many students with language disorders are also diagnosed with learning disabilities in reading and writing. Language disorders are independent of IQ and other non-linguistic processing faculties and therefore present normally across all intelligence and ability levels. Language disorders impact students' abilities to express themselves in class discussions or to rapidly process spoken language impacting their ability to fully participate in the educational environment.

Observing Language Disorder in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following characteristics in students with a language disorder:

  • May have difficulty recalling specific words
  • May lack rich vocabulary and resort to simple words
  • May have poor spelling skills
  • May have difficulty with pronunciation
  • May have difficulty understanding questions
  • May reverse letters
  • May use all capital letters when writing cursively
  • May have difficulty with proper grammar
  • May have difficulty interpreting figurative language
  • May have difficulty expressing ideas coherently
  • May read at a slow pace


Related Functional Characteristics

Articulation : Difficulty with pronunciation or stuttering can impact articulation for a student with a language disorder.

Intelligibility : Students with language disorders may have deficits in intelligibility due to word finding difficulty or inability to correctly form spoken words.

Processing Deficit (Language) : Due to language processing deficits, students with language disorders may have difficulties with receptive or expressive language.

Production (Verbal) : Verbal production can require more time and effort for students with language disorders due to omitting words, scrambling the word order, misinterpreting questions, or having slow receptive language speed.

Production (Written) : Deficits in expressive and receptive language impacting students' abilities to spell of efficiently retrieve words, making written production slow and labor intensive.

Word Finding : Students may stutter or have awkward speech when they cannot retrieve the words they want to speak.

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