You may be familiar with the frustration that comes from being unable to think of the right word in a given situation.
In the middle of a speech, conversation, or story, the word you need gets caught on the tip of your tongue or escapes you.
You could have been in the middle of a convo when you realized you weren’t paying attention and didn’t understand what the other person was saying.
You feel a bit lost because you let yourself get distracted. It happens to us when our mind is moving along in a conversation, and we suddenly lose track of it.
However, for a kid with a language processing disorder, this might be a permanent reality, leaving them stranded, unable to express themselves, and unable to follow the conversation.
The difficulty with expressive and receptive language disorders is that they interfere with a child’s ability to understand what others are saying verbally and to convert their thoughts into words and sentences.
The more you understand the symptoms of language processing disorders, the better you can help these children form relationships and express their thoughts and feelings.
In this post, we will talk about language disorder and the symptoms of a language processing disorder in children.
We will discuss the types of language processing disorders, including the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.
What is a Language Processing Disorder?
A language processing disorder (LPD) is a condition that impairs communication through spoken language. People with expressive language disorder have difficulties expressing their thoughts clearly, but those with receptive disorder have difficulty understanding others.
A person with a language disorder may struggle to talk spontaneously or outline their thoughts. Another person, on the other hand, may need help understanding what others are saying, following orders, or keeping attention.
You know this feeling: you’re in the middle of sharing a great story when the word you’re looking for gets stuck “on the tip of your tongue.” Or you’re 10 minutes into a conversation when you realize you haven’t heard anything the other person has said. These little mental lapses can be frustrating for most people, but for someone with expressive or receptive language impairment, they can be a daily occurrence. And the effects of communication issues over a lifetime can be disastrous.
Language difficulties are more prevalent than you would imagine. Experts estimate that up to 5% of children in the US have some form of language impairment. Still, many go undiagnosed, and more than 1 million children receive special education for language disorders in the United States public school system.
Suppose a language impairment is not detected early or is diagnosed wrongly. In that case, it can have long-term consequences in a person’s life, with effects that often last from childhood through maturity. Social circumstances, for example, might be difficult for people with receptive or expressive language impairment.
Difficulties in self-expression or comprehension of what others say might lead to withdrawal or ostracism. In challenging situations, a kid with a language disorder may grow so frustrated with his inability to communicate that he lashes out at adults or other children, giving him the title of “bully” or “problem child.”
Two Types of Language Processing Disorder
There are two types of language disorders:
Expressive language problems impair one’s ability to convey one’s thoughts through language. It occurs when people struggle to find the right words to convey feelings and ideas and communicate coherently using appropriate language tools.
Receptive language problems impair a person’s capacity to interpret what is being said accurately and make it tough to understand what others are saying or continue a conversation. A kid with receptive language processing impairment may struggle to understand or interpret what is said to them or to process words normally.
It is usual for both types to be present, making regular communication and socialization challenges.
Symptoms Of Language Processing Disorders
The common language processing disorder symptoms are:
Difficulty Following Directions
If your child processes language slower than a teacher or parent, he will miss information or tune out. This holds for both following directions at home and listening in class.
Trouble Rhyming At An Early Age
Rhyming shows language skills. If your child struggled with rhyming around 3-4 years old, it is a sign that speech and language processing abilities are not developing correctly. Rhyming is the best predictor of future reading ability. Children who cannot rhyme from an early age are at risk of becoming poor readers.
Vocabulary, Pronunciation, and Grammar Concerns
Compared to their peers, children with language processing impairments have underdeveloped vocabularies and poor grammar skills. This is because much of what they hear sounds murky or confused. Naturally, people limit their verbal vocabulary to terms they are certain they heard right. Furthermore, they cannot observe and acquire basics such as grammar and syntax because they must concentrate so hard on listening.
A child who struggles to listen in class will lose attention due to weariness or boredom. While this is frequently classified as ADD or ADHD, resulting in medication, the poor focus is almost always attributable to a language processing issue.
Children with language processing issues may suffer in noisy contexts such as schools. This might lead to inconsistent performance, which can be frustrating for both parents and children.
Reading requires proper phonemic awareness or the capacity to hear the sounds contained within words. This is difficult for youngsters who have a language processing issue. The majority of children who exhibit indications of language processing impairment have reading difficulties or are diagnosed with developmental dyslexia.
How to know if your kid has a language processing disorder?
It may take a group of experts to diagnose an LPD issue accurately. Nonetheless, children with this disease typically struggle with language-related activities such as speaking, reading, spelling, and writing. You can look for the following signs that you may need to follow up with experts:
- Delayed vocabulary development
- Difficulty adhering to basic or multi-step instructions.
- There is no focus
- Easily distracted by noise
- Cannot follow verbal instructions
- Inability to master fundamental linguistic skills
- Not interested in engaging in discussions with adults or other children
- Inability to learn new words or combine them in a sentence pattern
Diagnosing Language Processing Disorders
Suppose you’ve noticed some of the above language processing disorder signs and suspect you or your child has one. In that situation, the next step would be to seek professional advice. Language issues are sometimes misunderstood as ADHD, autism, or even “laziness,” so it’s critical to consult someone familiar with speech and language development.
You can do a few things. If you are concerned about a kid who has yet to start school, your state’s Early Intervention (EI) program can provide you with a free evaluation. If a language issue is discovered, EI professionals will work with you to create an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to support your child until age 3.
An IFSP specifies the services your child should receive and how parents and professionals anticipate his or her improvement. Parents play an important role in the development and implementation of IFSPs, so educate yourself & prepare to advocate on your child’s behalf.
If your child has already begun school when you observe language problems, you can seek assistance from the public education system, even if your child is enrolled in a private school. You can formally request the school to conduct a free speech therapist evaluation. If the school believes an examination is unnecessary or your kid is developing within normal boundaries, they may decline your request.
If this happens, the school will notify you in writing of its refusal and your options. You can request a hearing to contest the school’s decision or engage with a private speech and language professional. You can work with a private professional even if the school gives an evaluation. This alternative is frequently more expensive, but it does provide benefits such as more flexible scheduling and personalized attention.
If you suspect an adult has a language impairment, whether developmental or caused by a brain injury, you should act fast. It is critical to obtain a diagnosis from a language disorder specialist; if you are unsure where to begin, your primary care physician should be able to recommend you. If money is an issue, look into local institutions that may offer low-cost or free evaluations for adults as part of their language training sessions.
Most speech therapists use comparable methods to screen for language difficulties. You or your child must be tested in the language you feel most at ease, even if it’s not the language you speak daily.
Difficulties in a second language are not always indicative of a language issue. A pediatric speech therapist should interact with and observe your child in different scenarios and interview you to see whether your communication skills contribute to your child’s language delays.
For an adult diagnosis, your speech therapist may talk to your partner or other close family members to find out how your language skills affect how you interact with others. They may also experiment with different therapeutic methods to see how you or your child reacts and to develop a successful treatment strategy.
Treatment Options for Language Processing Disorders
If the speech therapist discovers that you or your kid has a language impairment, she will get a collab with you to develop a treatment plan, which will likely include speech therapy.
Suppose the language issue has significantly impacted the patient’s social and intellectual development, which is more likely the older they are at the time of diagnosis. In that case, psychotherapy may be advised.
Starting speech therapy early is the best approach to treat language difficulties, but if you or your kid have been delayed in getting the care you require, don’t despair.
Numerous studies have shown that up to 70% of patients react to speech therapy. While the success rate is higher for young children, most older children and adults experience good results when working with a trained speech therapist.
Treating Language Processing Disorders with Speech Therapy
Many parents of children with language problems use the public school system to get their kids speech and language therapy. Your child’s school may give you a few options, depending on the district:
– Individual therapy works best for people with severe language problems who need one-on-one help. Children with ADHD or learning disabilities, and similar conditions, may benefit most from therapy on their own. This also works well for families with busy schedules that won’t let them go to the more structured group therapy session.
– Group therapy: For many young kids with language disorders, group therapy is the best way to get help and make progress. Group therapy lets children with language disorders work with people whose strengths and weaknesses differ. This is because no 2 children with language disorders are the same. In group therapy, kids need to work with kids their age. Going to therapy with kids much younger or older could hurt a child’s self-esteem, make him withdraw, or do something else that would be bad for him.
– In-class therapy: If you’re worried your child will be bullied or miss out on important classroom time if they go to speech therapy, talk to the school about in-class therapy options. Based on the size and resources of the school, the speech therapist may be able to “team teach” with the teacher in your child’s classroom regularly to help children with speech and language disorders.
Since most teachers don’t have formal training in speech therapy and the speech therapist probably wouldn’t be able to come every day, this can feel like a stopgap for kids with normal IQs who would benefit from traditional therapy. Patricia McAleer Hamaguchi, MA, a speech-language pathologist, says that this is why team teaching should only be used for people with intellectual disabilities.
The team teaching method can help kids with lower IQs work on their language problems and learn social skills in a more “natural” setting than in a “clinical” therapy setting.
As your child grows, you may need to change how he is treated. Teenagers, especially middle schoolers, might feel embarrassed about getting speech therapy and start to fight it. For therapy to work, the child must be willing to participate. Also, your child might start to “plateau” around this age, so more therapy might not always help.
If your child’s progress has slowed or doesn’t want to talk about therapy, it may be time to re-evaluate his plan.
Private practice speech therapists can also treat language processing disorders for adults who have them and have good insurance, as well as for parents who want to get help for their children outside of school.
Private therapists take pride in being able to meet the needs of each patient. They will usually suggest that you or your child see them once or twice weekly.
As a bonus, private therapists can often work around busy schedules so that a child can stay in school or an adult can stay at work. A private therapist may also be able to prescribe exercises for the child to do at home and can talk to the child’s teacher about ways to help the child learn the language in the classroom.
Academic Interventions for Language Processing Disorders
Speech therapy is the best way to treat language disorders, but your child’s school can also help her practice important skills. Talk to the school about special needs, such as:
– Help the child plan ahead. Children with speech or language problems often find it hard to answer questions spontaneously. Teachers can help by letting the child know when he will be called on ahead of time. This gives the child time to think of an answer.
– Ask fewer open-ended questions. Giving a child either/or questions lets her show what she understands without having to interpret the question.
– Model proper sentence structure without correcting. If your kid misspells words or uses incorrect verb tenses, ask his teacher to make a habit of repeating back answers in the correct form rather than publicly pointing out errors.
At-Home Interventions for Language Processing
Along with speech therapy, the following basic activities can help a child learn and retain language skills:
– Talk or sing to your kid as much as you can. Giving him plenty of opportunities to practice his language skills is essential for getting your kid back on track.
– If he has trouble finding the right words, don’t finish his sentences for him. This will give your child confidence and teach him that he cannot rely on you to communicate with him.
– Educating yourself about your child’s issues is a vital first step that can help her adjust to and overcome her language difficulties.
Workplace Interventions for Language Processing Disorders
Adults with language disorders may struggle to understand what is expected of them at work or to interact with their coworkers. If you have a language barrier, your employer can assist you by making the following modifications:
– Provide meeting agendas ahead of time. Receiving the meeting agenda in advance allows you to mentally prepare and avoid being caught off guard by a question from your boss.
– Give notice when the employee is required to speak. If you have to give a presentation, ask your boss to let you know ahead of time so you can plan what you’re going to say and think about any questions that might come up.
– Allow written responses rather than oral responses. Ask your boss to send you questions by email instead of coming to your desk whenever possible so that you can write a well-thought-out answer.
Speech therapy can take a long time for both kids and adults, so it’s important to speak up for yourself or your child to get the help you need to do well. If it helps, talk to other adults or parents who are going through similar problems. They may be able to help you through a tough situation or point you in the direction of helpful resources for dealing with language disorders.
1. What is a language processing disorder?
This neurological disorder is best described as difficulty understanding what is being said or clearly expressing one’s opinions to others. Although some hearing loss may be present, the condition is mainly caused by the brain’s inability to process or interpret auditory information effectively.
2. How can you tell if your kid has a language processing disorder?
It may require a team of professionals to identify an LPD issue accurately. Still, children with this disorder typically struggle with language-related activities, such as speaking, reading, spelling, and writing. You should look for the following symptoms to see if you need to see an expert:
- Delay in vocabulary development.
- Difficulty adhering to basic or multi-step instructions.
- There is no concentration.
- Easy to lose focus in noisy places.
- Cannot follow verbal instructions.
- Inability to master fundamental linguistic skills.
- Uninterested in engaging in discussions with adults or other children.
- Inability to learn new words or combine them in a sentence pattern.
3. What is the Difference Between Auditory and Language Processing?
Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD) is a condition that affects how the central nervous system processes auditory information. It is an auditory deficiency, not a higher-order cognitive, linguistic, or related issue. A child with auditory processing impairment can hear noises, but their brain interprets them incorrectly. Although obtaining information from several disciplines can aid in diagnosing CAPD, an audiologist must make a definitive diagnosis.
The ability to connect meaning to auditory input and produce an expressive response is referred to as language processing. It is a key ability that influences many aspects of a child’s life; thus, it must be properly diagnosed and efficiently handled.
4. What causes language processing disorder?
The causes of LPD are unknown; however, it is thought to be a neurological disorder caused by a traumatic occurrence or injury or a medical illness that affects the brain.
5. How do you treat language processing disorder?
Treatment options differ depending on the type of LPD. Some methods emphasize growing phonemic awareness, while others employ visual learning.
6. How do you teach someone with a language processing disorder?
Teachers might speak slowly, use visual aids, and avoid open-ended questions.
7. Can you overcome language processing disorder?
Many LPDs are chronic conditions. Even with the right strategies, people can overcome and manage their disorders.
8. What are the possible consequences of language processing disorder?
The consequences differ based on the LPD. However, they all have something in common: an inability to express or understand instructions.
Final words: Language processing disorder
It’s normal to be concerned if you or your kid has been diagnosed with a language processing disorder.
Communication is perhaps the most important human skill, and it’s normal, especially for parents, to worry that a child who struggles with language may fail to prosper or make meaningful relationships.
However, if your child has receptive or expressive language issues, don’t give up hope – professional speech therapists, proactive parents, and supportive friends can make a significant difference in helping anyone overcome a language disorder.
Even though there is no one “right age” to ask for help, it is usually best to do so as soon as possible. If you are worried, you can ask your doctor for a referral to a therapist. As soon as you or your child gets a diagnosis of a language disorder, you can move on and get the help you or your child needs to do well.