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Language Delays in Children With Klinefelter Syndrome

Most males with Klinefelter syndrome have some degree of language impairment. As children, they often learn to speak much later than other children do, and they may have difficulty learning to read and write. And while they eventually do learn to speak and converse normally, the majority of males with Klinefelter syndrome tend to have some degree of difficulty with language throughout their lives. If untreated, this language impairment can lead to poor performance in school and its attendant loss of self-esteem.
In some children with Klinefelter syndrome, the language delays may be more severe, with the child not fully learning to talk until about age 5. Others may learn to speak at a normal rate, and not meet with any problems until they begin school, where they may experience reading difficulties. A few may not have any problems at all with learning to speak or learning to read.
Children with Klinefelter syndrome usually have difficulty with expressive language, which is the ability to put thoughts, ideas, and emotions into words. In contrast, their faculty for receptive language -- understanding what is said -- is close to normal.

Social Skills in Children With Klinefelter Syndrome

In addition to academic help, children with Klinefelter syndrome, like other language-disabled children, may need help with social skills. Language is essential, not only for learning the school curriculum, but also for building social relationships. By talking and listening, children make friends, and in the process, share information, attitudes, and beliefs. Through language, they also learn how to behave, not just in the schoolroom, but also on the playground. If a child's language disability seems to prevent him from fitting in socially, the parents of a child with Klinefelter syndrome may want to ask school officials about a social skills training program.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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