Communication disorders

9 Terms to Know If Your Child Struggles With Language Issues

By The Understood Team

38Found this helpful
38Found this helpful

If your child has language issues, you’ll want to know some of the key terms used by professionals. Learning these terms can make future visits with your child’s doctor, speech therapist or teacher a little easier.

1 of 9


Dyslexia doesn’t only affect reading, writing and spelling. It can cause trouble with speech, too. Children with dyslexia have difficulty processing verbal information. This can make it hard to keep up during conversation and understand what people are saying. Jokes and abstract ideas can be especially tough to grasp.

2 of 9

Executive functioning skills

Executive function can be thought of as the CEO of the brain. Executive functioning skills are the mental processes we use every day to plan, organize, pay attention and remember details. Weakness in certain executive functioning skills may find it difficult for someone to communicate.

3 of 9

Expressive language disorder

Expressive language issues can make it difficult for children to put thoughts into words. They may be able to understand speech. But their ability to express themselves is limited compared to their peers.

4 of 9

Receptive language issues

Receptive language issues can make it hard to listen to or understand what people say. Kids with this disorder usually hear well. But they have trouble processing and making sense of the sounds they hear.

5 of 9

Mixed receptive-expressive language issues

Having mixed receptive-expressive language issues makes it difficult to understand and express language. Kids with this condition may speak with a limited vocabulary and use simple sentences. They also struggle to understand what people say.

6 of 9

Procedural memory

Procedural memory is the memory we use to perform tasks that seem automatic or unconscious. Examples of these tasks include riding a bicycle, tying shoelaces and reading. Children with language issues may have trouble developing procedural memories that involve communication.

7 of 9

Social communication disorder

Social communication disorder (SCD) makes it hard to converse in socially appropriate ways. Kids with SCD have a hard time understanding the rules of spoken language that help people communicate with others. This condition has also been called pragmatic language disorder or pragmatic-semantic disorder.

8 of 9

Speech-language pathologist

Speech-language pathologists (also called speech therapists) are trained in communication development and disorders. These licensed professionals assess speech, language and other skills to identify specific communication problems and provide helpful treatment.

9 of 9

Specific language impairment

Specific language impairment (SLI) is the general term used for disorders that hinder children’s ability to develop language skills. It’s sometimes called developmental language disorder or developmental dysphasia.

View the tips again

8 Tips for Introducing Dyslexia to Your Child

Before he ever hears the word dyslexia, your child may be aware that he reads and writes differently than other kids. But he doesn’t know why, or how it may affect his future. Here’s how to explain.

6 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With Visual Sensitivity

Kids with sensory processing issues can be over- or undersensitive to visual stimulation. This can make everything from studying to falling asleep a challenge. Here are some ways to help your child cope with visual sensitivity.

About the Author

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team

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

More by this author

Reviewed by Ellen Koslo, Au.D. Dec 10, 2013 Dec 10, 2013

Did you find this helpful?


What’s New on Understood