The Parish School Blog

How to Spot a Language / Learning Disorder Early - Parish School Blog

Main Image

If a child exhibits 5 or more of the listed characteristics on a consistent basis, he/she may have a learning delay/disorder and be at risk for future academic problems. If parents or teachers are concerned, a developmental assessment, including a speech-language evaluation, is recommended.

Red Flags for Children ages 3 to 5:

Does your child…

  • Have difficulty following through on simple directions without assistance?
  • Use gestures or phrases instead of complete sentences?
  • Have trouble recalling names and overuses the words “it,” “they,” “he" and “thing”?
  • Exhibit inconsistent understanding of basic language concepts such as “in/out,” “under/over,” “before/after,” “front/back,” etc.?
  • Exhibit undue anxiety when presented with new situations (such as going to a birthday party or change in their typical routine)?
  • Resolve conflicts through hitting rather than working through conflicts verbally?
  • Have a difficult time in social or academic settings even though he/she appears to be bright?
  • Get out of control in unstructured settings?
  • Have a hard time cooperating with peers or following along in group activities even though he/she may seem very verbal?
  • Seem verbally “off topic” or inappropriate (such as frequently using phrases out of context or discusses their preferred topic even when it does not relate to what the other person is saying) even though he/she is verbally precocious?


Red Flags for School-aged Children (first grade & above):

Does your child…

  • Have a difficult time in social or academic settings even though he/she appears bright?
  • Have greater academic potential than he/she is exhibiting in the classroom setting?
  • Seem verbally precocious but is frequently “off topic” and make inappropriate statements in certain situations?
  • Have difficulty expressing himself to others in an organized way?
  • Have trouble recalling names and overuses the words “it,” “they,” “he” and “thing?”
  • Have poor comprehension skills?
  • Have difficulty following a series of instructions (or more than three steps at once)?
  • Have trouble turning letters into sounds and groups of letters into words?
  • Have difficulty sequencing 4-8 events of a story or movie?
  • Have poor organizational skills (desk is a mess, difficulty starting projects, forgets assignments/coats/lunch at home or school)
  • Exhibit inconsistencies in retaining learned material (one day he/she understands it and the next day he/she doesn’t seem to remember)?
  • Exhibit difficulty retelling a familiar story or personal event?


To find more information about speech, language or learning disorders and how to find early intervention visit the following sites: