Language Characteristics of Primary-Aged Students with Language Impairment
The term language learning disability (LLD), like specific language impairment and late talker, refers to a language impairment that does not stem from a cognitive deficit, a sensory impairment, a social deficit, or a gross neurological deficit (Paul, 2001). It also refers to difficulties in both language and learning. In other words, primary-aged students who exhibit LLD experience difficulties in acquiring reading and writing.
As in children with SLI, the language impairment in children with LLD can be expressed in the following areas of expressive language:
- Speaking. Students with LLD have difficulties in retelling stories or providing explanations, selecting and retrieving words, participating in classroom discussions and making relevant contributions to conversations, providing sufficient background information about a topic of conversation or indicating how ideas are related to the topic of conversation, and talking about events that occurred in the past.
- Writing. Students with LLD have difficulties writing well-formed and grammatically correct sentences, mapping letter-sound correspondences, and spelling.
Difficulties in the following areas of receptive language are expressed:
- Listening. Students with LLD have difficulties in following multistep directions, understanding others’ explanations, and gaining information presented via the auditory route, that is, auditory processing difficulties.
- Reading. Students with LLD have difficulties comprehending what they read, identifying and distinguishing between the most salient information in a story and the irrelevant information, connecting and sequencing ideas in stories, and using visual and contextual cues for understanding story lines.
Phonological Characteristics of Students with LLD
Children with LLD are usually intelligible. However, as preschoolers, they may have exhibited phonological deficits. These subtle, but lasting phonological deficits may underlie their reading difficulties during the early school years. School-age children with LLD have difficulties with tasks that require phonological awareness. This can be problematic, since phonological awareness is essential to achieving print literacy and also the best predictor of reading ability.
Syntactic Characteristics of Students with LLD
The language output of students with LLD may be characterized as simple and immature. Some of the syntactic characteristics follow:
- Use of simple sentence structures. Students with LLD produce fewer complex sentence structures and fewer embedded clauses than their typically developing peers do (Marinellie, 2004).
- Limited elaboration on noun and verb phrases. Students with LLD use fewer modifiers (e.g., “Look at the big, red house.”), prepositional phrases (e.g., “The house in the corner is mine.”), embedded clauses (e.g., “The game I bought last year is now my brother’s.”), and adverbs (e.g., “She eats very quickly.”).
- Difficulty understanding passive sentences. Students with LLD interpret passive structures based on the order of appearance of the subject and object in the sentence instead of relying on the meaning of passive forms. For example, in the sentence “The cat was chased by the dog,” children with LLD will interpret it to mean “The cat chased the dog,” instead of the other way around.
- Difficulty with grammatical morphemes that are typically acquired later in development. Comparatives (e.g., big–bigger) and superlatives (e.g., biggest) and advanced prefixes and suffixes (e.g., unrelated, rewrite, disinterested, accomplishment, madness) are a challenge for these children.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
- Kindergarten Sight Words List
- Coats and Car Seats: A Lethal Combination?
- Signs Your Child Might Have Asperger's Syndrome
- Child Development Theories
- Social Cognitive Theory
- GED Math Practice Test 1
- The Homework Debate
- 10 Fun Activities for Children with Autism
- Why is Play Important? Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Creative Development
- Problems With Standardized Testing