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School-Aged Spoken Language Disorder (SLD)

Language impairment in school-aged children may persist for a lifetime, and symptoms may change over time. SLD may be observed with decreased academic language skills, such as sequencing, recall, reading comprehension and written narratives.

Deficits may occur across five language domains: 

1 – Phonology: The system of the basic sounds that comprise language—and  how these sounds can be combined. Phonology can be broken down into units called phonemes, such as the K sound in cat or ski.

2 – Morphology: The system of how words are formed (or not formed) in language. A morpheme, the smallest unit of meaning, combines with other morphemes to create meaning, while indicating context and tense as well as prefixes, suffixes and compound words. Language dictates what morphemes can be combined to create words and meaning and what combinations do not make sense.

3 – Syntax: The system of grammar in determining word order, placement and combination. An example of incorrect syntax in English could be “the book read I did,” which might not be incorrect syntax in another language. Straightening out word order provides the intended meaning. 

4 – Semantics: The language rule system that refers to the meaning of words and sentences. In communications, that meaning determines how words are used. Words can have more than one semantic meaning, such as man and boy—both denoting the same gender and some outward appearance, but with semantic differences pertaining to other characteristics, such as age.

5 – Pragmatics: The four other rule systems explain how to create meaning through the use of phonemes, morphemes, word order and word meaning. Pragmatics, the fifth rule system, adjusts language to fit certain social contexts in our culture. It reaches beyond communication basics to the complex realm of consciously tailoring communications to others, using figurative language and idioms. An example is how a child might tailor language to greet a teacher, compared with informal speech reserved for other students.

Read more about speech & language disorders and treatment options at CFI…



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