Developmental Language Delay or Disorder
A developmental (childhood) language disorder is defined as the abnormal acquisition, comprehension, or use of spoken or written language. Language disorders are generally classified according to the major components of the linguistic system: semantics, morphology, syntax and pragmatics.
Impairments in semantics can take the form of reduced vocabulary, restricted semantic categories, word retrieval deficits, poor word association skills and difficulty with figurative language forms such as idioms, metaphors and humour.
Deficits in morphology manifest as difficulties with inflectional markers such as plurals, past tense, auxiliary verbs, possessives, etc.
Syntax involves the rules governing the order and combination of words in the construction of well formed sentences. Syntactic deficits are characterized by problems with simple and complex sentence types such as negatives, interrogatives, passives, and relative clauses as well as occasional word order difficulties.
Pragmatics involves the rules governing the use of language in a social context. Pragmatic impairments can include a reduced repertoire of communicative intentions, turn taking difficulties in conversation, a trouble repairing messages that are not understood by the listener and difficulty with narrative discourse, such as telling a story.
Children can have receptive language impairments, expressive language impairments or both. Some children will catch up to their peers but many continue to have difficulty and the gap between their skill level and that of their peers may increase as they get older.
Aphasia – Acquired Language Disorder
Aphasia is a disorder caused by brain damage that results in impairment in the comprehension and expression of language. The primary cause of aphasia is stroke. Other etiologies include brain tumours and head trauma. Aphasia is associated with damage to the language centre of the brain
The brain regains some of its speech, language and motor functions as part of the natural recovery process. It is believed that the greatest amount of this spontaneous recovery occurs during the first few months after the brain injury. However, changes many be seen in individuals a year or longer. Several factors will influence the degree of spontaneous recovery and the ultimate prognosis. These include the size, location and etiology of the brain lesion; type and severity of the initial aphasia (specifically comprehension); age at onset; and overall health of the individual. The overall goal of aphasia therapy is to improve the personÃ¯Â¿Â½s communication skills to the highest degree possible within the constraints of the neurological damage.