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An Overview of Pediatric Language Disorders

presented by Jennifer Schultz, MA, CCC-SLP

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Disclosure Statement:

Financial: Jennifer Schultz receives compensation from MedBridge for this course. There is no financial interest beyond the production of this course.

Non-Financial: Jennifer Schultz has no competing non-financial interests or relationships with regard to the content presented in this course.

Satisfactory completion requirements: All disciplines must complete learning assessments to be awarded credit, no minimum score required unless otherwise specified within the course.

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Accreditation Check:

The development of communication skills is a complex process in which the developing child must understand and express nonverbal, verbal, and written language at ever increasing levels of complexity. The speech-language pathologist in pediatric settings is required to identify and describe disorders of communication in a manner that allows parents and related professionals to understand the underlying causes of the child's communication difficulty and to provide a framework from which the disorder can be appropriately treated. This course is designed to provide the new or veteran SLP with an overview of language disorders in children.

Meet Your Instructor

Jennifer Schultz, MA, CCC-SLP

Jennifer Schultz is an instructor for the speech-language pathology assistant program at Mitchell Technical Institute in Mitchell, South Dakota. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Disorders and Psychology from the University of South Dakota and a master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Iowa. Jennifer spent 21 years working as…

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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1. Language Disorders and Their Causes

This chapter discusses the components of language through the communication subdomains approach and provides an overview of a variety of common causes of communication disorders.

2. Disorders of Early Pragmatic and Discourse Skills

This chapter will describe deficits that may occur in early pragmatic skills, including nonverbal communication, joint attention, turn taking, and conversation. Common causes of disorders that are identified in these areas will be reviewed along with information regarding the prevalence of these disorders.

3. Disorders of Vocabulary Development and Early Word Combinations 

This chapter will describe difficulties that children may experience comprehending vocabulary and expressing vocabulary at a variety of age levels. Tiers of vocabulary and the differences in deficits across tiers will be discussed. Common causes of vocabulary difficulties will be reviewed.

4. Disorders of Morphology and Syntax

This chapter will describe difficulties that children may experience comprehending and expressing grammatical morphemes. Difficulties with development of specific syntactical structures will be described. Common etiologies associated with morphosyntactic disorders will be reviewed.

5. Disorders of Social Communication Skills

This chapter will describe difficulties that children may experience with later discourse and other social communication skills. Difficulties with comprehension and use of abstract language forms will be discussed. Difficulties with perspective-taking/theory of mind and the effect on peer relationships will be reviewed. Etiologies of communication disorders that typically present with social communication deficits will be presented.

6. Communication Disorders vs. Communication Differences

This chapter will contrast language differences from language disorders. We will review the effects that first languages may have on development of English as a second language in typical development and language impairment. Suggestions will be provided to assist SLPs to develop cultural competence and differentiate between language disorders and language differences.

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