How are language disorders diagnosed?

The speech and language pathologist examines different parts of the language and how the social communication works. This is done with various tests and/or pictures and toys. The language related parts can be divided as follows:

  • Phonology – sounds: language sounds: How the child pronounces and perceives the language sounds. For example, some children pronounce “s” as “t” so that “sun” is pronounced “tun”.
  • Grammar: That the child can build sentences with the right word order and inflect the words correctly.
  • Vocabulary: We usually distinguish between active and passive vocabulary, where the active vocabulary in simplified terms contains the words we use and the passive vocabulary are words we understand.
  • Language understanding: Does the child understand the words, sentences and instructions given? Some children may have a good understanding of the situation, that they recognize the situation and therefore understand what, for example, the preschool teacher says. But when the instruction is not in a known context, it can be difficult for the child to understand if they have not developed a sufficiently good language understanding.
  • Social communication (pragmatics): Does the child make eye contact? Does the child seek contact? Can the child concentrate? Does the child understand the rules of conversation such as taking turns? If not, the child may have problems with the social part of the language.

After the assessment, the speech therapist reviews the results and decides whether or not the child needs treatment.