Middle Childhood Intervention 6-12:

Category — 3.3 Eight to Ten: Language Development

Language Development

Most typically developing 8 to 10 year olds have very complex language skills. In fact, their language skills are almost as complex as those of adults. Language skills are very important on their own, but they are also quite important because they are influenced by social, cognitive and academic skills. It is extremely important that children’s language skills be monitored very closely and that a referral for an evaluation be made if language delays are observed.


A child with expressive language may:

  • speak in very simple sentences;
  • be unable to give details when talking about their own experiences (that is, using just a few sentences to talk about their experiences, even though they have a lot to say);
  • be unable to give details when retelling a story;
  • not talk very much;
  • use a lot of generic terms to describe specific objects or situations (for example, saying “animal” instead of “dog” and “meal” instead of lunch);
  • be unable to get their point across with oral language;
  • be unable to give simple directions (for example: “this is how you play this game”);
  • be unable to invent a story;
  • struggle with irregular plurals (for example: saying “mouses” instead of “mice”);
  • struggle with the irregular past (for example: saying “eated” instead of “ate”);
  • use very literal language and avoid figurative speech (for example: “it is raining cats and dogs”);
  • struggle with pronouns (for example: using “he” and “she” interchangeably);
  • leave out the beginning or ending of a word (for example: saying “chool” for “school).


A child with receptive language delays may:

  • not understand what others are telling him or her;
  • struggle with figurative speech (for example, it is raining cats and dogs);
  • have trouble following complex directions;
  • not understand jokes;
  • appear not to understand the “message” behind a story;
  • appear not to remember a story that he or she was just told;
  • struggle with the understanding of complex terms (such as: “I am baffled”);
  • not know minor body parts (for example: “knee,” “forehead”).


A child with pragmatic language delays may:

  • end a conversation by just walking away and not letting the other know why or what happened;
  • constantly interrupt others and not realize he or she is doing this;
  • get too close to others when talking to them (unless appropriate to do so in the child’s culture);
  • talk about several topics at once without sticking to the topic at hand when conversing with others;
  • have difficulty establishing and maintaining eye contact with others (if appropriate to do so in his or her culture);
  • have difficulty changing language to be right for his or her audience (that is, may use the same level of complexity when talking to a small child and a grown-up);
  • speak too loudly;
  • constantly blurt out things (that is, say things before it is his or her turn to do so);
  • only talk about things that are of interest to him or her.


By age 7, most children have mastered 100% of the sounds in their native language. A child experiencing delays in articulation, may:

  • struggle with the pronunciation of  any sound in the English language.
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May 6, 2012   No Comments