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Difficulties with language can be:
* Hard to understand what other people are saying
* Speaks in too short sentences (for the age)
* Has too little words in vocabulary
* Hard time using conjugations and verb tenses
* hard time to keep the conversation going
* Hard time telling a story, or just telling what happened today.
* Hard time taking turns in conversations
* Hard time understanding questions/interrogative words
* Hard time making eye contact

A child should be able to hear and understand the spoken word. It needs words and structures to be able to react to it. Language is a complex game of comprehension, vocabulary, constructing sentences and stories. In some children the language development is delayed or deviant. Multilangual children can also show a delay in their language learning curve, although for it to be a language impairment, there have to be problems in both languages. Difficulties with communication can also arise as an effect of a autism spectrum disorder.

What is a delayed language development?

We’re speaking about a delayed language development when it is a lot later or negatively different from that of children in the same age. There might problems in language comprehension or/and production of the language within the following three areas: grammar, semantics and pragmatics.  

Language comprehension problems make it hard for the person to understand what somebody else is saying. 

Language production problems make it hard for the person to express him/herself with words. Very often these two are not affected in the same degree. 
Problems in grammar cause sentences to be short, grammatically incorrect and with erroneous verbe tenses and conjugations.
Problems with semantics cause the vocabulary to be limited and stories hard to be told and understood. Very often the child may talk about the same (well-known) things over and over again, or just talk about the here and now, or have a hard time to determine what the other person already knows or doesn’t know. 
The child might have a small set of words with a rather general meaning and simplified language like “this one” “that one” or “I don’t know”, brakes and repetitions. The person may have difficulties with word finding. 
Problems with pragmatics cause the child to have a hard time using the language in conversation: how one can direct oneself or others with the use of language, how to take turns, how to listen to others, how to know that the other person has heard you, understood or even is interested, or how to make eye contact in conversations. 

Early recognition

It is very important that language delays are recognized as early as possible. Between the age of 0-6 years old, children are most susceptible for language learning. The way a child learns language has a big impact on the further language development and problem solving abilities. If the base of the language isn’t correctly built, this affects the development of the rest of it.
Developmental language delay/disorder can cause learning disabilities and/or emotional difficulties. When the child has a hard time understanding or making itself understood, he/she can start showing different behaviors: becoming really silent or very angry, scared or aggressive. The delay can also have negative concequences for the reading and writing development.

comorbidity - coexistence of language disorder with other disorders

Developmental language disorder can be connected to other “disorders”, such as a speech disorder, developmental disorder, neuropsychiatric disorder, sensory processing disorder, auditive processing disorder or hearing disorder. Other important factors are the possibilities of the child, psychological factors, social factors and the sort and amount of language that the child is surrounded with. 

what does the sLP do?

Jessica assesses the child’s language. She will ask for as much information as possible, so that the treatment will be as effective and specific as possible. A first conversation with the parents and the child is the start. The needs of the child become clear, as well as the background of the child and what the parents and daycare center personnel/school teachers have done to stimulate the language development of the child. The assessment is done by standardised tests that test language comprehension, production (sentences and words), communicative and auditive skills. With their help the child’s language level is determined and compared to its peers. The results help with diagnosing.

In cooperation with the parents a plan is made to work on the language development in the most effective way. Jessica will be training language comprehension, increase the ability of the child to listen, work with vocabulary, constructing sentences and pronunciation. Children that do not speak yet will be challenged to start talking, by helping to develop the prelingual skills: how to use language in order to get something you want, imitating others, making eye contact, taking turns etc.
Parents are included as much as possible in the treatment and will get home work. The most effective is usually weekly sessions with the parents being present, so that they can see what is needed for their child. They will learn about the language level and the needs of their child and how to address it. 

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