A child may have a language delay or a language disorder if he / she has problems understanding questions, following directions, learning new words, saying new sentences or be completely non-verbal. Language problems in children are described by many terms: language delay, language disorder, language impairment, language-learning disability and specific language impairment. Various early risk factors are known to be associated with language disorders in children. These include: hearing loss, Autism, Down Syndrome, brain injury, Cerebral Palsy, prenatal conditions such as maternal drug abuse, perinatal conditions, premature birth, prelinguistic communication deficits, delayed production of first words, lack of socialization or social play, reduced use of gestures and impaired learning of speech sounds.
Children may have difficulty with understanding language (receptive language) or problems with speaking (expressive language). Difficulties include: