Week 1 – Early language
What is the difference between a language disorder and a language delay? Although the two terms seem synonyms, they in fact mean very different things. On one hand, the term language disorder means that a child is not developing language as one would expect. While the term language delay means the child is developing language in a typical manner but is doing so at a slower rate than their peers.
According to ASHA, a language disorder it is an impairment in comprehension and expression of spoken language, written, and/or other symbol systems. An individual with a language disorder can have deficits in form, which is the phonological, syntactic, and morphological aspect of language. Content, which is the semantics part. And function, which involves pragmatics.
A language delay follows the typical course of development; skills match those of younger typically developing peers but do so at a slower rate. When a child is learning to talk they follow certain patterns and develop skills at certain ages. A child with a language delay may exhibit the same patterns and skills but at a slower rate. For example, a child at 18 months should have a vocabulary of ~20 words, but if that 18 month old still isn’t speaking any words they may be experiencing a language delay.