Language, as a symbolic tool and coping strategy, is an important factor of any child's overall development, and its acquisition by children has been studied by many researchers. There are many different theories of how language is acquired--for example by imitation of adult behavior (Bohannon & Warren-Leubecker, 1989) or because of an innate "internal grammar" (Chomsky, 1969) that makes language use inevitable. Controversy arises on the issue when children fail to accomplish the task of language acquisition. The failure in children may be attributed to a variety of factors that are grouped under the general category of language or developmental disabilities.
Language disabilities are classified under problems relating to communication, which generally means oral communication, hence with one or more disabilities of physical oral and aural motor function (NICHCY, 2000). The specific character of the disability will vary with the individual affected, and "range from simple sound substitutions to the inability to understand or use language or use the oral-motor mechanism for functional speech and feeding" (NICHCY, 2000). A language disability may be physically or cognitively based, as the professional literature illustrates. It may be related to problems with language acquisition.
The symptom patterns of language disabilities are quite varied and may "refer to difficulties producing speech sounds or problems with voice quality," ranging from stuttering to voice timbre to delay or inaccuracy in processing and/or duplicating sounds. Cognitive problems may also be reflected in such language disabilities as "improper use of words and their meanings, inability to express ideas, inappropriate grammatical patterns, reduced vocabulary and inability to follow directions" (NICHCY, 2000).
Multiple causes of language disability have been identified, and may exist singly or in combination in a given individual. According to the National Inf...