Expressive Language Disorder
Students with an expressive language disorder have problems using oral language or talking. The student’s understanding of language is likely to outstrip his/her ability to communicate with the spoken word. There may be a reticence to talk and students may resort to pointing or gesturing to get their message across. Expressive language may lack variation in intonation or volume. Imaginative play and social use of language may be further impaired. Students may have difficulties in describing, defining and explaining, and in retelling stories/events. Limited vocabulary may result in the students using empty phrases and non-specific words. Expressive language difficulties may impact on the students’ abilities in relation to writing, spelling, composing sentences/compositions and answering all but the most straightforward of questions. There may be evidence of omission of function words such as ‘the’ and ‘is’, and grammatical markers such as tense endings. Difficulties may be noted in the formulation of full sentences and in the understanding of multiple word meanings. Difficulties may occur in establishing and maintaining peer relationships.
Receptive Language Disorder
Students with a receptive language disorder have problems understanding oral language or in listening. They may have difficulties processing and retaining auditory information, and in following instructions and directions. Difficulties understanding what is said may be exacerbated in group discussions. Difficulties in answering questions may be related to a limited understanding of question forms. Students may have difficulties filtering out background noise and have difficulties with verbal reasoning. Difficulties remembering strings of words and difficulties with sound discrimination may also be evidenced. Language limitations may also interfere with topic maintenance. As a result of comprehension difficulties, students may experience difficulty with turn taking in conversation. There may be pragmatic difficulties such as poor understanding, poor use of tone, facial gesture and body language, and poor eye contact. Difficulties may occur in establishing and maintaining peer relationships.
Global Language Disorder
Some students have global language disorder and experience difficulties with both receptive and expressive language. Global language disorders affect both the understanding and use of language.