Language, The Overlooked Problem

Difficulties in language can impact a number of areas for a child, yet is a facet that mental health clinicians often understand the least. For instance, a language delay or deficit in receptive and expressive language can impact a child’s behavior. Being able to identify the emotion one is feeling and express the emotion is the first step in emotional regulation. However, a child with receptive and expressive language delays often is unable to articulate how they feel. Subsequently, big reactions, such as melt downs or anger episodes, can occur in many children with language difficulties.

Language can also impact social skills. In fact, children with a social communication disorder often have difficulty with to-and-fro conversations, nonverbal communication, and relating to their peers at an age appropriate level. These children often seek friendships, but have difficulty establishing and maintaining friendships.

Language can also have a significant impact on learning. As discussed in my earlier blog, Blog, language difficulties can impact a child’s reading comprehension, written expression, acquisition of a foreign language, and math word problems. When testing does not include language, the root of many children’s academic problems is overlooked. In addition, working with a speech language pathologist can often help a child’s academic skills.

Lastly, language difficulties can often mimic an attention deficit disorder. According the article referenced below, The Most Common Misdiagnoses in Children, AD/HD is one of the most misdiagnosed disorders. Many children with language disorders can appear inattentive. This is because the classroom is verbally mediated, and children who learn best visually can lose focus.

When finding a counselor to address your child’s behavior, learning, or attention problems, it is imperative that they also understand how speech and language difficulties can impact them. Feel free to contact me,, if you have any concerns regarding your child’s speech and language development.

Written by: Amy Rollo, M.A., LSSP, LPC-S

Amy Rollo is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor and owner of Heights Family Counseling. Amy has been practicing for fifteen years. She has doctoral level training in the areas of child and adolescent counseling, marriage and family therapy, and adult counseling. Amy Rollo provides counseling and evaluation services in the Houston Heights and surrounding areas. Amy’s goal in counseling is to journey with her clients in order to foster positive changes and growth in their lives. Read more about Amy's counseling style by visiting