A language disorder or delay is a type of communication disorder that involves difficulties in using and understanding spoken language. There are two types of language disorders: expressive and mixed expressive-receptive language disorders. These disorders can be due to inherited conditions, developmental disorders, or traumatic brain injuries. In most cases, language issues fall under expressive language disorder. This refers to problems in expression or putting words together to form coherent sentences and to get the message across to listeners.
However, there are cases wherein a child struggles with both expression and comprehension. Problems with understanding and comprehension are referred to as a receptive language disorder. This involves difficulties in processing messages and information that one receives, whether through listening or reading. It is not a disorder of hearing, e.g. hearing loss.
Before an individual can use language to communicate (expressive language), one must first understand and grasp spoken language. That is why most children with a receptive language disorder also struggle with expressive language. This is called mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.
When language disorders or delays are not quickly addressed, they cause children to fall behind in school. According to research, around 5% of pre-school age children and 3% of those in grade school are found to have mixed receptive-expressive language delays or disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder
Signs of language disorders do not become noticeable until it is time for a child to start talking. Organizing thoughts while trying to process what others are saying can be a struggle for children with a receptive language disorder. They often find it difficult to connect words and the ideas behind them. In some cases, they may also have trouble with pronunciation and speech sound production.
Symptoms of mixed receptive-expressive language disorder include: