Preschool language disorders occur in children ages 3-5 years old who are having difficulty talking and understanding. Here are some of the characteristics of the various types of language disorders that can affect preschool children.

Expressive language disorders

Preschoolers with expressive language disorders may struggle with using gestures, labeling objects, asking questions, or forming sentences. They may have trouble with grammar, such as using pronouns like he, she, or they correctly. They could also have a hard time starting and maintaining conversations.

Receptive language disorders

Preschoolers with receptive language disorders may have a hard time understanding the meaning of gestures, identifying objects or pictures, or answering questions. Following directions could be challenging for them. Or they could have difficulty taking turns in conversations. In some cases, a child can have both receptive and expressive language difficulties.

Early reading and writing

Sometimes preschoolers may have problems with early reading and writing. They may have trouble naming letters or learning the alphabet. Or, they could have a hard time telling a story in the proper sequence with a beginning, middle, and end. Other times, they could have a hard time knowing how to hold a book correctly. For example, they might hold it upside down.

What should parents do?

If your preschooler shows any of these signs of a language disorder, seek out an evaluation from a speech-language pathologist. If treatment is needed, the sooner it’s started, the better to help improve communication skills and quality of life.

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