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† C. Language Disorder: What Every Parent Should Know

Narrator: This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco says itís important parents be aware of a language disorder which affects about 15 percent of young children. Dr. Michael Merzenich (MERZ-IN-ICK) says children with specialized language impairment donít hear sounds normally and create an alternative way of processing and receiving speech.

Merzenich: Many of these children have problems in accurate signal reception in hearing. In hearing of non-speech sounds in the hearing of speech.

Narrator: Merzenich says this leads to problems communicating and understanding speech, which if undetected, may result in the child failing in school and having trouble reading.

Merzenich: If you understand that your child has difficulty in understanding the speech of others, appropriately responding and so forth, thatís a signal to you that this problem should be assessed in your child. 0:11

Narrator: And the sooner these kids are identified, the better.

Merzenich: Because we can get a child through this, they donít have to fail, they donít have to be identified in the class as "the dumb kid" and I think itís very important for us as a society to face up to these problems and deal with them more decisively.

Narrator: For Science Today, Iím Larissa Branin.