Early Childhood Intervention: Module One – Typical and Atypical Development

Category — 1.5 Communication Development: How Development In Early Years Affects Development in the Elementary Years

How Development in Early Years Effects Development in Elementary Years

Children who have difficulties with language in the early childhood years1 will very likely continue to exhibit difficulties with language in the elementary years and beyond. If these difficulties are not addressed, they will get more serious and will have a negative effect on practically all aspects of the child’s life. This applies to all aspects of language: receptive, expressive, pragmatic and articulation. Children with language delays do not “outgrow” them. With appropriate support however, they may acquire and develop many of the basic skills.

Children with language delays by age 5 years, at they begin the elementary school years (and beyond) may exhibit the following behaviours:

Children with difficulties with receptive language:

  • May look as if they do not pay attention, because they may not understand what is being asked of them;
  • May only hold a small number of words in their vocabulary;
  • May continue to experience difficulties in social situations, because of their receptive language skills difficulties.

Children with difficulties with expressive language:

  • May continue to find it difficult to be part of groups and  other social situations, and avoid them completely;
  • May continue to feel that they are “different” from others (e.g., things that are easy for others are difficult for them, both in and out of school situations);
  • May struggle with learning how to read and write, and have trouble with subjects like socials, sciences and math that are language-based.

Children with difficulties with pragmatics :

  • May continue to avoid social situations, because it is hard for them to be a part of a conversation;
  • May be avoided or made fun of by other children, because of their  difficulties with language when sharing with others;
  • May be aware of their language difficulties, continue to feel ‘bad’ (see full Glossary) about themselves.

Children with difficulties with articulation:

  • May avoid social situations, because of difficulties with some speech sounds
  • May choose not to talk to avoid other children making fun of them.
  • May be aware of their speech difficulties, continue to feel ‘bad’ about themselves.

Children with language delays who show these behaviours need additional support at school; otherwise, these behaviours could become more complex between 5 and 12 years old. Knowing of how these language difficulties may effect a child is important in any of the four aspects of language. Not being successful in language and communication skills may have long lasting effects. These difficulties may prevent the child from being included in activities such as school plays, debates or any other meetings, or just ‘mingling’ with children and adults. As adolescents and young adults, any daily life situations that include language and communication become difficult, for example, talking to a bank-teller or contacting one’s doctor.

1 see References

February 27, 2011   No Comments