Language disorders can be difficult to assess because we use it everyday without thinking. By looking at the five components of language - phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics, you can assess the speech and language skills of your child to provide the best support for their academic success.
Semantics is the construction of meaning in individual and combination of words. Students with language learning disabilities in this component have problems understanding word meanings. Receptive language issues is problems comprehending language signals, while problems in expressive domains cause issues in the production of meaningful communication. Semantic deficits affect oral vocabulary and reading ability.
Pragmatics serves two major linguistic functions in socialization - the ability to influence the actions of the person they are communicating with and the ability to influence the listener in a communication. Deficits in this domain can be discerned when individuals struggle with using language to convey their thoughts and desire in a conversation, in a way that is appropriate for their age.
Over 90% of children with reading problems present with core phonological awareness deficits. Phonology is the framework how of the smallest unit of sounds (phoneme) are combined. Measures of phonological awareness in kindergarten are, in fact, powerful ways to forecast reading achievement in the first and second grades. Deficits in this area would include difficulty remembering, discriminating and manipulative sounds in word, syllable or sentence.
A morpheme is the smallest unit of language that coveys meaning, this include root words and affixes. Many elementary school students with morphological deficits tend to not use third person when using verbs (e.g., “He sing”) and often do not use the letter “s” at the end of nouns or pronouns to indicate possession (e.g., “Uncle hat”). They may struggle with rules of word formation.
Syntax is the system of rules that determines the way words or morphemes can be integrated to form grammatically correct sentences. Syntactical deficits can be recognized in some children who lack the ability to form longer, more syntactically complex sentences. Students with issues in this domain are often have difficulties understanding their obligations because they cannot comprehend auxiliary verbs such as must, have to, and ought.