Language is a code that we learn to use in order to communicate ideas and express our wants and needs. Reading, writing, gesturing, and speaking are all forms of language. Children learn language by listening and practicing what they hear. In this way, they figure out the rules of the language code. It is not learned all at once but in stages over time.

There are expected language behaviors for different ages of development. For example, by 1 year of age, a child should use one or two words, follow simple requests ("Come here"), and understand simple questions ("Where's your shoe?"). By 2-3 years of age, the child should be using two or three word sentences to talk about and ask for things and following two requests ("Get the ball and put it on the table"). Children are individuals and may develop at slower or faster rates than expected. What is most important is that the child shows continuous language growth.

Parents can help a child learn to communicate by talking and reading with their child. Communication should be encouraged, but not demanded. Sometimes children are not exposed to enough language to learn the rules. Some parents respond too much to pointing and gestures instead of speech and the child doesn’t learn to communicate through spoken language. But most language disabilities occur without an identifiable cause. Some signs of a language impairment are:

· Difficulty understanding word meanings

· Below average vocabulary

· Difficulty formulating sentences or using correct grammar

· Speaking in incomplete sentences or using spoken language that has little meaning

· Difficulty sequencing events

· Difficulty with problem solving, making predictions about outcomes based on given information, or making inferences

A speech-language pathologist with experience in child development can evaluate the child's language development, design an organized plan of language learning, and carry out the plan in individual or small group session. In addition, the student may need modifications such as use of visual cues, multiple choice selections, word banks and extended testing time to help him/her be more successful in school.