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Preschool Language Disorders


Preschool is an exciting time in a child's life: they make their first friends, may have their first teacher, and increase their independence.  It is also a time of a child's life where many language skills develop at once.  Some children show trouble learning new language skills.  This can be worrisome or frustrating for parents.  According to the American Speech-Langauge-Hearing Association, there are a few categories of language disorders in preschoolers 


Receptive Language Disorder

Some children have problems with receptive language, or understanding language. These children may have difficulty: 

  • Understanding gestures, like shrugging or nodding 

  • Following directions 

  • Answering questions 

  • Pointing to objects and pictures 

  • Knowing how to take turns when talking with others 

Expressive Language Disorder

Children may have problems with expressive language, or talking. They may have difficulty: 

  • Naming objects 

  • Using gestures

  • Putting words together into sentences 

  • Asking questions 

  • Learning songs and rhymes 

  • Using correct pronouns, like "she" or "they"  

Mixed Receptive and Expressive Language Disorder, or Developmental Language Delay

Many children have difficulty with both their expressive and receptive language skills.  

Impact on Pre-literacy development


Often, children with language delays also have trouble with early reading and writing skills, including:​

  • Telling a story with a beginning, middle, and end 

  • Naming letters and numbers 

  • Learning the alphabet 

Preschoolers with expressive and receptive language delays can make big improvements in their communication skills with speech therapy.  Preschool is a great time build the needed language and pre-literacy skills before elementary school starts.  Jennifer Houch, MS, CCC-SLP has over 10 years experience helping preschoolers improve their speech and language skills.  If you are concerned about your preschooler's speech and language development, contact Jennifer today!

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