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There are two main types of language disorders: receptive and expressive. A receptive language disorder is difficulty with understanding and/or processing words during communication. Children with receptive language deficits have difficulty following directions, learning new vocabulary, remembering new information, among other areas.

An expressive language disorder impairs a child's ability to use words to express themselves verbally, or nonverbally (using AAC/sign language). A child with expressive language deficits may have difficulty combining 2+ words into phrases, creating sentences with correct grammar/word order, and knowing the right words to use in specific situations.

Both types of language delays represent a significant impairment due to deficits in comprehension and/or production across any of the five language domains (i.e., phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics). Language disorders may persist across the lifespan, and symptoms may change over time.

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