Communication disorders

4 Ways Language Disorders Can Affect Your Child’s Social Life

By The Understood Team

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Language disorders can make it hard for children to engage in the normal give-and-take of conversation. Depending on your child’s particular language issue, different social skills may be affected. Here are some common social challenges—and ways to help.

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4 Ways Language Disorders Can Affect Your Child's Social Life
Language disorders can make social interaction tough for kids. Here are examples of what can happen—and ways you can help.
1. Social Challenge
Your child monopolizes conversations.
The language link:
Social communication disorder (SCD) often makes it hard for kids to understand the rules of polite conversation.
How you can help:
During conversations with your child, remind him to slow down and listen to you. Maintaining eye contact with your child can also help him develop turn-taking skills.
2. Social Challenge
Your child is quiet around friends.
The language link:
Expressive language disorder (ELD) is a condition that makes it hard to put thoughts into
words. This causes some kids to become shy.
How you can help:
Use everyday activities to encourage conversation. For example, while grocery shopping, ask your child to discuss what he likes to eat
and why.
3. Social Challenge
Your child doesn’t understand jokes or sarcasm.
The language link:
Children with SCD can be very literal-minded and have trouble interpreting tone of voice.
How you can help:
Watch TV shows together, and discuss the characters’ moods. Explain how you can sense a character’s emotions. This will help your child to learn to interpret nonverbal cues.
4. Social Challenge
Your child gets tongue-tied.
The language link:
Kids with ELD and mixed receptive expressive language disorder have trouble finding the right words.
How you can help:
Help your child expand his vocabulary. When introducing a new word, explain what it means, then use it in a context he’ll remember: “I need a vehicle to take me to the store.”
For more tips and resources, go to
Graphic of 4 ways a language disorder can affect your child's social life
Graphic of 4 ways a language disorder can affect your child's social life

About the Author

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Joanne Restivo

Joanne Restivo, Au.D., is an audiologist in Newport, California, and a former assistant professor at Columbia University Medical Center.

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