Sometimes children find it difficult to speak their mind. It may result from the loss of words to accurately describe what they feel. In few cases, it may be the result of language impairment.
Narrowing down on the differences between impairment and small vocabulary can be an uphill task. Also, language impairment can be of two kinds – receptive language impairment, and expressive language impairment. However, there are definitive markers for both kinds of language impairment.
How to Find out If Your Child Is Suffering from Language Impairment
Here are some ways you can spot if your child is suffering from language impairment:
1. Inability To Comprehend People
Does your son refuse to hang out with kids his age? Does he complain that he does not understand what they say? Kids with language impairment sometimes fail to comprehend what is being told to them. This inability to understand another person is called receptive language impairment. They do not understand directions or instructions. They have problems arranging their thoughts and speaking in sentences that make sense.
Receptive language impairment is difficult to spot among small kids. Your little one is not trying to annoy you; he is just unable to understand the things you are asking him to do. By the time your kid makes sense of the set of oral instructions you have given him, he has missed the bus.
2. Inability To Express Himself
Kids start chattering away after they have picked up enough words to describe everything around them – what they think of something, how they feel if they want a change. Kids with language difficulty, however, do not start conversing with such ease.
Kids often have a limited vocabulary when compared to average kids their age, and they also face immense difficulty stringing those words together. They cannot construct proper sentences that can convey their feelings and emotions correctly. They tend to repeat sentences or parts of sentences they have said before. They tend to leave words out of their sentences, as well as have no hold over the use of tenses in their speech. Also, they use fillers too often as they search for the right word to convey what they intend to say.
3. They Have Poor Social Skills
You will also notice that your little angel shies away from company. If you take him to the park, he much rather walk by your side and hide behind you than hang out with his friends. He realizes that he is not on par with the other kids in the playground, in terms of ease of interacting with other people. New social circles can be terrifying to a kid since it is way beyond his comfort zone.
Added to the fear, language impairment tends to pull down his confidence, and he begins to lose his courage. He does not want to be bullied, or have his language impairment pointed out. You need to pay attention to your kid’s initial interactions to trace if he suffers from impairment. Also, don’t be ashamed of your kid’s disabilities. Instead, be proud of him for he is struggling more than other kids and trying to be a good son to you. You owe it to him to be a good parent.
4. Keep Tabs On His Vocabulary Usage
At around 18 months, kids begin to address people and things directly. In other words, your little darling should not only be calling you ‘Mama’ and ‘Dada’, but also calling out to your dog by his name. Sometimes, kids are a little late, but they pick up eventually. By the time your kid is a little over 2 years old, he should be rattling off two-word phrases. He should ideally be learning new words and using them in phrases. If he is not, you should pay closer attention and understand if he is facing difficulties trying to communicate.
By 4 years, your child should be forming complete sentences and using them in his everyday conversations. He may not be using some words in the correct context, or may use similar words, but he should be a competent conversationalist.
5. Notice If Your Kid Follows Instructions
Since kids with language impediments also face difficulties following through with instructions, you should take note of your little one’s abilities of the same. Notice if your kid can be differentiate between objects when you refer to it by its name. Or, if he can tell people apart when you address those people by their names.
When your kid turns a little over a year, he should be able to understand simple instructions and follow through. When he is about two years and a half, he should be able to respond loudly, or acknowledge by nodding his head when he is asked questions. Close to three years, and your little angel should be able to follow two-step instructions like potty training. You need to understand your kid’s needs so that you can prepare him and help him through school, until he is in a place where he can fight his own battles.
As a parent, you will notice if your kid is lagging behind when compared to his peers. Don’t panic, because that is not going to help. You can seek professional help, but keep it quiet until your little one is willing to acknowledge it. Language impairments are nothing to be ashamed of, but openly admitting it is a decision that lies with your child. As a parent, you have to be patient as your little darling struggles against these troubled waters and emerges triumphant.