Children all learn language in the same way, but not always at the same time. Some children talk early and understand everything you say. Others do not talk much or have trouble listening. Children can have speech or language problems before they start school.
Your child is preschool age if she is 3 to 5 years old and has not yet started kindergarten. She may have problems following directions or understanding questions. She may have trouble learning new words or saying sentences. Your child can have problems with both. This is a language disorder.
Your child may also have trouble saying sounds clearly. This is a speech sound disorder.
Signs of Preschool Language Disorders
Some children have problems understanding, called receptive language. They may have trouble:
- Understanding what people mean when they use gestures, like shrugging or nodding
- Following directions
- Answering questions
- Pointing to objects and pictures
- Knowing how to take turns when talking with others
Some children have problems talking, called expressive language. They may have trouble:
- Asking questions
- Naming objects
- Using gestures
- Putting words together into sentences
- Learning songs and rhymes
- Using correct pronouns, like “he” or “they”
- Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going
- Changing how they talk to different people and in different places. For example, you speak differently to an adult than a young child. You can talk louder outside than inside.
Many children have problems with both understanding and talking.
Some children also have trouble with early reading and writing, such as:
- Holding a book right side up
- Looking at pictures in a book and turning pages
- Telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end
- Naming letters and numbers
- Learning the alphabet