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Your child or adolescent’s language difficulties can present in many different ways, such as having trouble finding the correct word to name an object (e.g., naming a “candle” a “lamp”), to having difficulty understanding the directions that have been given (e.g., “get the piece of paper on the bottom shelf”), to having trouble using certain grammatical forms (e.g., he will go fishing this weekend).


Later in your child’s development, it is common to see language difficulties in both reading and writing, where your child might have difficulty understanding stories and narrative texts, formulating sentences, or following along in classroom discussions. Your child might encounter challenges interacting with their friends and peers because they have a difficult time following the conversation due to the words or complex sentences used.  


If your child has difficulty understanding language, known as a receptive language delay/disorder, you may notice they have a hard time with the following:

  • Understanding directions, especially longer more complex directions.

  • Understanding questions.

  • Understanding complex sentences that include descriptive words (e.g. the spotted cat jumped over the fence).

  • Understanding different concepts (e.g., under, first, hot, fast, etc.).

  • Understanding what has been read.


If your child has difficulty with spoken language, known as a expressive language delay/disorder, you may notice they have a hard time with the following:

  • Naming objects or pictures.

  • Re-telling a story or past events.

  • Putting words together to form a grammatical sentence.

  • Using certain grammatical forms (e.g. your child says “me going outside” vs. “I am going outside.”

  • Repeating a phrase back to you.

  • Understanding words (e.g.s, knowing that certain words or objects belong to a category, understanding similarities and differences among words, etc.).


Sometimes children have difficulties in both understanding and using spoken language, and other times they may understand language, but struggle to express their thoughts and feelings to others.


What does a language assessment look like?

  • A language assessment includes both standardized and non-standardized assessments where your child will be asked to point to pictures in a book and answer questions or finish sentences related to pictures in a book.

  • We will gather a language sample during either play based or naturally occurring conversation.

  • We will assess reading and written language where your child will be asked to answer questions verbally or in written form in relation to a reading passage.

  • Detailed case history, including family history of speech and language concerns.


What does language therapy look like?

Speech therapy for your child focuses on goals that address your concerns as a parent as well as the observations and results of the assessments conducted by the speech-language therapist. The most important piece of speech therapy is making sure that your child is interested, engaged, and having fun! It is also essential that therapy includes parents because you know your child best. Having worked with children and their families for many years, we know the importance of parent involvement in therapy sessions as well as the involvement of community partners  (e.g., resource teachers) in order for carry over of goals into your child’s everyday life. Therefore, when possible, speech therapy will also include parents, either through observation of the therapy techniques and strategies, participation in the activity or games, or through direct parent coaching.

Language Support: Service
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