Teacher Awareness of the Link Between Problem Classroom and Language Impairment

“He doesn’t follow directions”, “She prefers to play by herself ”, or “He constantly hits other children.” Have you ever heard these comments from teachers? I have. Per the teachers’ comments, these students show obvious behavior concerns. It has been my experience that if I was to ask the teachers to describe the students’ communication skills, they might say “They’re good.” But, during targeted questioning to gather additional information about the students’ communication skills, teachers’ responses often reveal issues that point to possible language problems. Unfortunately, they do not link the behaviors to an underlying language impairment. This is an indication that training to identify language problems in students, particularly those with behavior problems, continues to be an area of need for some teachers. According to Cross (2004), language impairments in students with behavior problems often go undetected. When language problems are not properly identified, appropriate referrals for evaluations and necessary supports cannot be implemented.

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