Language Disorders in the School Setting



Language impairment is described as “one of the most common childhood disorders that you’ve never heard of.” According to a researcher from the University of Delaware, language impairment affects 7 out of 100 U.S children and is believed to affect more, as language disorders are frequently overlooked or misidentified as other disorders of behavior or attention.

Researchers through the National Science Foundation have been investigating three types of intervention for language disorders-vocabulary, grammar, and phonological awareness, to see what intervention has the largest impact on academic performance. It is said that in a school-based setting, time constraints limit the extent to which therapists are able to address all three areas of intervention, forcing service providers to focus on one area in treatment.

With an emphasis on science, technology, and math, many academic curriculums are believed to underestimate the critical element of language and its connection to the more prominent academic areas. An emphasis on the understanding and use of language is believed to begin in elementary grades suggesting that without proper support of language in important early years of development, children can quickly fall behind academically which challenges them from catching up in later years as curriculum content evolves and as information is presented at a faster rate.

Parents can ensure that language skills are being addressed in the classroom by ensuring children are understanding the vocabulary concepts presented across courses. Emphasis on reading and listening comprehension of classroom material and notes ensures children will possess the foundation knowledge for making curricular applications. Ensuring children both comprehend and can explain their coursework ensures from a language perspective, their needs are being fulfilled. If children are having challenges in the classroom, establishing the root causes of the challenges can be helpful in removing barriers to learning whether they be student-driven, teacher-driven, or content-driven.