Is Your Child Ready to Learn? What You Need to Know About Language Ability and School Performance

In a typical elementary school classroom, two children will have Developmental Language Disorder. Those children are able to carry on simple conversations, but their ability to understand and formulate language is like that of a much younger child. When those children enter school, they are at a disadvantage for making friends, participating in classroom activities, and learning to read—all of which depend on age-appropriate language ability. These children tend to go on to have academic problems, they are less likely to finish high school, and less likely to earn a college degree than their peers.

Too often, these children go unnoticed. If they tend to withdraw in highly verbal contexts, they might be mistaken as shy. If they tend to act out, they might be mistaken as having behavior or attention problems.

If you are concerned about your child’s ability to understand or use spoken language, take action. Getting the right diagnosis and the right support as early as possible can make a big difference for your young learner.

Here are some useful Dos and Don’ts for parents:



Don’t “wait and see.“ It is true that children learn to talk at different rates, but if your child is still having trouble at age five, it is unlikely that he or she will outgrow the problem without extra help. Do contact a speech-language pathologist to share your concerns. The SLP can help you determine whether your child has a language disorder. Look for CCC-SLP after the name to be sure you are working with a certified professional.
Don’t be afraid of labels. The worry that diagnostic labels bring with them penalties or self-fulfilling prophecies is understandable, but without an accurate diagnosis, it is impossible to tailor intervention, instruction, or study routines to the needs of your child to ensure best outcomes. Do talk to school personnel. Developmental Language Disorder fits in the ‘speech or language impairment’ category (or sometimes the ‘specific learning disability’ category) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. If a developmental language disorder affects your child’s educational performance, your child will qualify to receive special services at school.
Don’t ignore early literacy problems. Children with developmental language disorder often find it challenging to learn to read and many of them go on to be diagnosed with dyslexia when they are older. Do talk to your child’s teacher. If you have noticed spoken language difficulties, ask your child’s teacher if she or he has noticed difficulties with early reading and writing as well.
Don’t get confused. Developmental Language Disorder goes by many different terms depending on the professional, the setting, and the age of the child. Language delay, language impairment, speech-language impairment, primary language impairment, and specific language impairment might be used synonymously with developmental language disorder. Do find trusted professionals and sources of information. Knowledge is power and knowledge that can help your child is priceless. Visit Raising Awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (RADLD) for information and tips to help your child.

Children’s Vocabulary Research Study

For parents of Iowa children ages 4-6, Boys Town National Research Hospital is enrolling children with typical language development and children who have any trouble with language, to participate in a children’s vocabulary research study. The hospital will provide compensation for your time and will bring the study to you. Parents will receive all scores on the language testing and a licensed speech-language pathologist will be available to answer questions regarding your child’s language abilities. Learn more about the Children’s Vocabulary Project.

This is a sponsored post. ICMB was compensated for sharing this piece.  However, we love connecting our readers with organizations that are doing good in our region, and we think you will find this information helpful and informative!


Jessi is a creative, organized and enthusiastic girl mom with a soft spot for country music and all that it entails. She's a single mom to two sassy little girls (born in 2014 & 2018). She's putting down roots in West Branch, Iowa, just a few miles from her hometown of West Liberty. Jessi works in fundraising, event coordination and community development and enjoys hiking, crafts, bargain hunting, party planning, and taking in the simple joys of life. She is admittedly addicted to funny memes, is passionate about philanthropy, and is completely smitten by the adventure of motherhood.


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