5 things to know about speech-language impairments
Updated: May 30, 2019
Last week I had the pleasure of guest teaching in an Introduction to Exceptionality class full of inquisitive freshman and sophomores. Here are some of the things we talked about:
Speech and language are two different things. Speech happens in the mouth; language happens in the brain. Speech is the mode; language is the message.
Language impairment affects roughly 12% of children (Tomblin et al., 1997). Contrast that with autism spectrum disorders, which affect less than 2% of children.
Children with language impairment often experience reading disability (Catts et al., 2005; Werfel & Krimm, 2017).
Language impairment affects academics outside of just English Language Arts. Most instruction is delivered via language, so we can expect difficulties with math, science, social studies, and even related arts like PE.
Difficulty with syntax is a hallmark of language impairment (Rice & Wexler, 1996). If a child is 5 and says things like "he run" instead of "he runs" or "I jump" instead of "I jumped," his or her language should be evaluated.