Language refers to the content, structure, and organization of both written and oral communication. Language disorders can manifest as difficulty with finding the right words to say, confusing or disorganized message structure, using vague or unclear descriptions, or difficulty with grammar and sentence structure. The goal of language therapy is to help you process words effectively and speak in a concise, organized, easy-to-understand manner.
What is a language disorder?
Language disorders can have many causes and take many shapes and forms. Broadly speaking, there are two main categories of language disorders:
Receptive language disorders make it difficult to understand what other people are saying. It may be difficult to follow complex directions or catch all the details of a story or conversation. You may feel like you are often missing what others are saying, or have a hard time keeping up with verbally-presented information.
Expressive language disorders make it difficult to put your thoughts into words. You may struggle to find the right words (word retrieval), or your messages may often be disorganized or confusing to listeners. Organizing a thought into a cohesive, concise statement can be extremely challenging.
Often, language disorders are mixed, meaning there is difficulty with both the receptive and expressive aspects. Language disorders can impact reading and writing as well as listening and speaking.
What happens in language therapy?
Language therapy varies widely depending on the nature of the impairment (receptive, expressive, mixed) and its severity. Therapy will be highly structured with exercises based on real life situations, focusing on word-finding and processing speed. At times it may appear informal by practicing high-level narrative organization skills in conversation.
Language therapy is not limited to the spoken word. Language disorders often impact reading and writing skills, and these can be important areas for therapy. In some cases, written language may be more impaired than spoken language, in which case the bulk of therapy will be spent in this area. We will work together to determine how much focus is appropriate across listening, speaking, reading, and writing.