Language disorders are a strange beast. They are often called a ‘hidden’ disability as usually there are no physical signs that a child is developing differently. In fact, until asked to follow an instruction, answer a question or communicate a message, the child with a language disorder seems like every other.


This makes language disorders difficult to recognise, explain to others and to diagnose. Making it even more difficult is the lack of consistency that exists about the terminology used to describe a child with severe language difficulties.  In different countries, education systems, time periods and medical professions, language disorders have been referred to by many names:

  • ·         Expressive receptive aphasia
  • ·         Congenital aphasia
  • ·         Developmental dysphasia
  • ·         Specific language impairment (SLI)
  • ·         Speech language impairment
  • ·         Receptive/expressive phonologic/syntactic deficit syndrome


All of these names are then even further confused by co-existing disorders such as:

  • ·         Dyspraxia
  • ·         Apraxia
  • ·         Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS)
  • ·         Developmental verbal dyspraxia (DVD)
  • ·         Sensory processing disorder (SPD)


And finally, language disorders are often misdiagnosed as:

  • ·         Intellectual impairment (II)
  • ·         Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • ·         Global developmental delay (GDD)
  • ·         Pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS)


This lack of consistency makes it difficult for parents and professionals to access information about language disorders and for organisations like ours to raise awareness of this disorder so that we can improve understanding within the greater community as well as securing funding recognition for our families.


At CHI.L.D we use the term Primary Language Disorder, with students of our school.  The Glenleighden School, is verified under the Department of Education, Training and the Arts (DETA) category of ‘Speech Language Impairment’. All of our children have unique strengths and difficulties and these manifest themselves differently in each individual. But primary to their difficulties is language – this is the common thread.


Whatever it is called, a language disorder is significant and our children deserve to be recognised!


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