Language Development

Supporting children with Understanding and Using Language


Understanding and using language is important to successful communication. As understanding develops, a child’s vocabulary grows, and they further develop their understanding of the world around them. The greater their vocabulary, the more able they are to express themselves.

Language skills are also important to literacy development. If a child struggles to understand and use language they are likely to find it difficult to read and write words and sentences.

Understanding Language

A child with difficulties understanding language may:

  • Not respond appropriately to instructions
  • Not respond to questions or requests
  • Demonstrate poor attention and listening
  • Have difficulties keeping up with the learning in the classroom
  • Give unusual answers to questions
  • Need instructions to be repeated before being able to carry it out
  • Demonstrate disruptive behaviours

Understanding language includes a range of different skills:


Using Language

A child with difficulties using understanding language may:

  • Not use many spoken words
  • Not join words together
  • Miss words from sentences
  • Not use words in the correct order
  • Use incorrect word endings e.g. verb tenses and plurals
  • Use the wrong words for things

Spoken Language includes a range of different elements:


We work with children with a range of language difficulties, from children who are late to talk to older children who have difficulties with more complex language skills. If you are concerned about your child’s understanding or use of language you should consult a speech and language therapist.

How to help:


Comment on what is happening and what your child can see or is interested in. 

For example, 'coat on', 'baby is drinking' etc.


Repeat your child's language back to them correctly. 

For example, child: 'him runned', adult: 'yes, he ran!'


Extend your child's utterances by one or two words when repeating them back.

For example, child: 'car', adult: 'daddy's car', 'fast car' 'car driving' etc.

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