Language processing disorders (LPDs) are types of learning disabilities that affect a person’s language skills. There are two main types of LPD:
- Expressive language disorders (ELD)
- Receptive language disorders (RLD)
RLDs cover conditions that involve people having trouble understanding others. Those with hearing loss are examples of RLDs as they struggle to separate speech from background noise. With ELD, the person has difficulty expressing their thoughts clearly. For instance, people with autism often struggle to communicate.
In this article, we look at some of the most common LPDs. We also suggest ways to cope with an LPD and improve communication skills.
Overview of common language processing disorders
The following is a list of the most common conditions that cause language processing problems. It isn’t exhaustive. There are several LPDs beyond those presented below.
Dyslexia is a common LPD affecting an adult’s or child’s ability to read written words. As such, the condition affects overall language comprehension.
Dyslexic people experience difficulties in verbal memory and phonological awareness, so they often get confused when reading. Words can appear jumbled, especially if they don’t have clear patterns.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is one of the most common behavioral disorders in children and adolescents. ADHD affects the problem-solving ability due to the sufferer struggling to maintain focus. It also causes people to have trouble paying attention.
Children with ADHD are more likely to have language difficulties than children who don’t have the condition. These difficulties may include issues with following instructions and slow processing of written or spoken words.
Some also struggle with reading comprehension, meaning special education is required.
Central Auditory Processing Disorder (CAPD)
CAPD is a hearing impairment that affects up to 5% of school-aged learners. It results from the brain and ears failing to work together. Children with CAPD don’t understand what they hear the same way as other children.
Early diagnosis is crucial for children with CAPD. With the right approach, specialists can train kids to properly use the auditory information they receive.
Symptoms include mishearing sounds or words. Some children have difficulty understanding verbal directions and may get overwhelmed in noisy environments.
Expressive Language Disorder (ELD)
As we touched on earlier, an ELD is any condition that makes it difficult for somebody to use language. People with ELDs usually understand what others are saying. But they find it hard to express their thoughts and ideas.
As such, an ELD isn’t a typical language development disorder. It doesn’t affect articulation or pronunciation. Those with ELDs also don’t typically have issues with their intelligence. It simply means the person finds it hard to speak in coherent sentences.
Treatment options and tools to improve language processing
The following tools and techniques can help people to improve their language processing skills.
Contact the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
The ASHA has over 200,000 members and is one of America’s leading resources on language-related conditions. It’s also an advocacy group that provides access to various professionals.
You can find resources related to assistive technology and speech therapy through the ASHA. The group can also help you find a language therapist or audiologist who can help your loved one with their language processing skills.
Check out the ASHA website to learn more about what it does, the certifications it provides, and its latest evidence-based research into LPDs.
Change your teaching methods
Public school teachers can help students with LPDs in several ways. Speaking slowly and clearly helps. So too does asking fewer open-ended questions. These questions force children to engage in complex word finding, which is often difficult for those with LPDs.
Other techniques include using visual teaching aids during lessons. Assessing students using visual methods helps teachers and caregivers track progress and understand a student’s challenges.
If you’re the parent of somebody with an LPD, inform their school of their condition. You may be able to work together to create more effective lesson plans.
Hire a private tutor
Having an LPD can severely affect a child’s mental health. Some children may feel less talented than their peers because of their language difficulties. Hiring a tutor can help your child overcome these thoughts.
Speech-language pathology may be a good option for very young children. A speech-language pathologist (SLP) understands your child’s specific challenges and can help them develop their language skills.
As your child ages, look for tutors who specialize in your child’s condition. Furthermore, engage in your child’s homework sessions directly to show them they have support at home.
Text to speech (TTS) technologies
TTS readers are software packages that convert the written word into audio files. They’re ideal for helping students who struggle with reading comprehension.
Speechify is one of the leading TTS apps.
Speechify allows users to copy digital text into the app. It then reads the text aloud, giving the user a selection of voices to choose. It’s available for Android, iOS, macOS, and as a Google Chrome extension.
With Speechify, everything is an audiobook. With its combination of voice, language, and reading speed options, Speechify can even be a helpful audiology tool. Try it for free today to find out what it has to offer.
How do you treat language processing disorder?
Treatments vary depending on the type of LPD. Some techniques focus on developing phonemic awareness, while others use visual learning.
How do you teach someone with language processing disorder?
Speaking slowly, using visual aids, and avoiding open-ended questions are all techniques that teachers can use.
Can you overcome language processing disorder?
Many LPDs are lifelong conditions. Still, people can overcome and manage their conditions with the proper techniques.
What are the possible consequences of language processing disorder?
Consequences vary depending on the LPD. But they generally relate to a struggle to communicate or understand instructions.
What are some tools that can help with language processing disorder?
Beyond professional help, TTS readers like Speechify can help people who have LPDs.