Communication disorders

How Can I Tell If My Child Has Been Misdiagnosed With a Language Disorder?

By Joanne Restivo

How can I tell if my child was misdiagnosed with a language disorder?

Joanne Restivo

Former Assistant Professor of Audiology, Columbia University Medical Center

Children who have difficulty understanding or using language are sometimes diagnosed with a language disorder. But there’s more than one type of language impairment. Some kids may struggle to express their thoughts. Some may struggle to comprehend what others say. And some may struggle with both receptive and expressive language issues.

There are also other disorders, such as ADHD, that may cause similar difficulty with language. Some of these disorders can look similar to one another. And they sometimes coexist. So misdiagnosis is possible.

If your child was misdiagnosed with a language disorder, you may have wasted time and money on ineffective treatments. One possible sign of misdiagnosis is if your child is not improving with intervention like speech therapy. Another possible sign is if a concerning behavior starts to get worse.

Time is an important factor in providing intervention. The sooner your child can get effective help, the better. Research shows that kids are more likely to succeed in improving their skills with earlier intervention.

It’s important to have your child’s language skills evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. This team should include a psychologist, a speech therapist and an audiologist. They can work together so that an accurate diagnosis can be made. If you’re concerned your child might have been misdiagnosed, talk to your child’s teacher or doctor about getting another evaluation.

About the Author

Portrait of Joanne Restivo

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

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