Developmental language disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects a child’s ability to understand and express language. The cause or causes of this disorder remain unknown, but it has been suggested that genetic factors, prenatal exposure to toxins, and other environmental factors may play a role.
Developmental language disorder is typically diagnosed based on an analysis of a child’s language skills. This includes an assessment of the child’s receptive language (the ability to understand spoken language) and expressive language (the ability to produce spoken language). A child’s language development relative to their age and the presence of other symptoms such as motor delays, learning disabilities, and social or behavioral problems may also be evaluated.
Differential diagnosis is important to rule out other conditions that may be causing language difficulties, such as hearing loss, autism spectrum disorder, or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Treatment for developmental language disorder usually involves speech-language therapy. This therapy can help a child develop their language skills by providing individualized instruction and activities. Other treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and medication may be recommended depending on the child’s needs.
Developmental language disorder is a lifelong condition, but with appropriate treatment, children can make significant progress in their language development. With early diagnosis and intervention, many children will be able to achieve age-appropriate language skills.