What is Semantic-Pragmatic Language Disorder (SPLD)?

Even though some children are verbal and can communicate with speech, they may have difficulties with the use of language and the “rules” of conversation in social situations. Although this is true of children on the autism spectrum, particularly those with Asperger’s Syndrome, some children do not have that full diagnostic picture and only exhibit the language difficulties seen in semantic-pragmatic language disorder (SPLD). Kids with SPLD are better at socializing but demonstrate problems with speech at an earlier age than kids with Aspergers. However, it may be very difficult to differentiate between the two diagnoses. What are semantics? Semantics … Continue reading

Understanding and Strengthening Language Comprehension

Both of our children have weaknesses in language comprehension. There are a lot of similarities in their lack of skill in speaking and understanding words and their meanings. Each boy displays limitations in perception and the ability to express themselves through speech. Randy has been officially diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome along with ADHD, impulse disorder (a piggyback disorder of ADHD), and other learning disabilities. Because Daniel displayed no tendencies of violent or irrational behavior, he was not examined for any mental disorders before the boys came to live with us. I think Daniel was overlooked in the process because … Continue reading

12 Signs That Your Child Is Trying to Tell You Something

Children who are non-verbal or have language difficulties exhibit many behaviors in an effort to try to communicate. Sometimes these attempts to “tell you something” can be misunderstood. It might seem like your son or daughter is just being evasive, annoying, or naughty. But it’s important to recognize that children who have difficulty with speech struggle with a whole lot of frustration. When my son Kyle was a preschooler, his tantrums were incredibly severe because he could not adequately communicate his desires. I’m sure he sometimes felt like a tourist in a foreign country, getting a whole lot of blank … Continue reading

Promoting Communication in Your Non-Verbal Child

By request, I am taking a more in-depth look at ways in which parents can help promote communication from their non-verbal children. As part of my series on floor time strategies, this blog will be specifically devoted to floor time techniques to use with children who don’t speak. (Not sure what floor time is? Click here.) For the non-verbal child, all the rules of floor time still apply: Give 20 – 30 minutes of your undivided attention, several times per day. Build on the child’s favorite behaviors. You are going to let your son or daughter select the activity through … Continue reading

Causes of Speech and Language Delays

Speech and language delays can be caused by a number of things. This blog will describe the possible causes. Only evaluation by a professional can determine the actual cause of your child’s speech delay. Mental Retardation Children who have some type of mental retardation count for 50% of speech delay cases. According to the American Pediatric Association a child who is mentally retarded “demonstrates global language delay and also has delayed auditory comprehension and delayed use of gestures.” Which means that the child has been continually slower than average in speech development. The child also does not make use of … Continue reading

Speech and Language Delays

Speech and language are separate things although they usually develop in conjunction with each other. Speech is a child’s ability to say words and express himself verbally. Language is the process of expressing and receiving language in a meaningful way both verbal and non-verbal. Usually a child can understand more than they can speak but by age three speech and language typically catch up to each other. Children who have a speech and language delay cannot express themselves and also have a lower comprehension of other’s speech. This delay is easier for parents to see because not only can their … Continue reading

“Play Dumb” and Encourage Your Child’s Language Development

I know, I know. Parents are supposed to be brilliant, with all the answers. Parents know what to do and when to do it. So what is all this about “playing dumb?” Well, there are certain times when holding back your parental smarts might just be a good idea. Example One: Maggie Let’s say three-year-old Maggie has a language delay, and she wants to play outside. She begins loudly banging on the back door. It’s very obvious what she wants. Her mother, annoyed by the noise, says, “Do you want to go outside, Maggie?” And Maggie groans and knocks louder. … Continue reading

Can Your Child Put Words to Feelings?

Expressing feelings verbally is an important step in a child’s development. If your child is unable to explain that he is frustrated, hungry, angry, or lonely, he is far more likely to tantrum, scream, or misbehave instead. That’s because your son or daughter wants to get through to you. He or she wants to connect, even if only to get basic needs met. I promise that as your child begins to put words to feelings, you will notice a decrease in outbursts and inappropriate behaviors. Here are some ways that you can begin to teach your child to verbalize her … Continue reading

Children with Speech or Language Impairment

Using our voices to speak, and communicating with others is a vital part of being a human being. A child who struggles with speaking needs special assistance to improve her quality of life. As one of the thirteen recognized disabilities, Speech or Language Impairment in children is a condition qualifying for special education services. What Constitutes a Speech or Language Impairment? The child may stutter or have problems with word articulation. He might have a lisp, or voice impairment. Typically a child with any level of hearing loss will have difficulty with speech. A child who has selective mutism (refuses … Continue reading

Help Improve Your Child’s Language Development

A child with a learning disability or developmental delay often struggles with learning to talk. You can play an active role in increasing her vocabulary and/or comprehension at home. Most of the language your child hears comes from you, and you are his best model. Here are some tips: 1. Talk to your child as you go about your day. It sounds obvious, but I can recall times when I would drive my oldest boy to a birthday party, chatting with him the whole way. As soon I dropped him off, Kyle, my second son, rode in the back of … Continue reading