What is a language disorder?

What is a language disorder?

A Language Disorder is defined by difficulties in any of the following domains: spoken language expression, spoken language comprehension, written expression, and reading comprehension. A Language Disorder can occur as a delay during childhood development, or it can occur after illness or injury (e.g., stroke or head trauma). A Language Disorder in early childhood may present as talking later than expected and/or difficulty with understanding spoken language resulting in frustration with communication. A Language Disorder persisting into preschool and school-age years may present as difficulties with expressing ideas and telling stories, forming sentences, reading, writing, following directions, answering questions, and participating in conversations.


Language is assessed via a combination of formal testing, informal observation, and extensive interview with the patient and their family. When available, information from teachers is also used to assess language functioning.  


Treatment for deficits of a Language Disorder is individualized for each patient’s specific needs. Treatment trajectories for a Language Disorder can vary greatly in prescribed length.  Parent collaboration and partnership with treating clinicians is an important component of language intervention.