Pin Me

Recognizing When Kids Can't Process Language

written by: Janelle Martel • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 10/1/2012

Imagine yourself traveling to a foreign country, having never learned the language. You now understand a little better the difficulty that student's face when they cannot process the language.

  • slide 1 of 4

    Not Quite On the Same Page

    A language processing disorder can be described as having extreme difficulty understanding what you hear and expressing what you want to say. Having this type of disorder can make day-to-day activities very difficult. Students with this disorder can have difficulty reading, spelling, writing or even speaking. Basically, anything having to do with language in any way becomes very difficult for them. These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing.

    Students who have this disorder may frequently say,”What” or “Hmm” or look at you with a puzzled expression because they really don’t understand what you are saying to them. Sometimes, it may take them a little longer to respond when they are asked a question because it takes them longer to comprehend or process what was just asked of them.

  • slide 2 of 4

    Specific Disorders

    Students who are in need of speech and language services would fall under the category of having a language processing disorder. These students can also have a hearing deficit, so they may need hearing aids as well. If you suspect a student falls into this category, it will be important to have his hearing tested.

    There are two types of language processing disorders: expressive and receptive. Those that have an expressive language disorder have a hard time speaking and writing. It is difficult to express their thoughts. People that have a receptive language disorder have a hard time understanding and processing information presented to them.

    Students that have an expressive language disorder may also be identified as having a specific learning disability. They may have difficulty with written expression, finding it difficult to formulate the thoughts in their head and then somehow get it on paper. It is not that these students don’t know how to express their thoughts; they just can’t put it in writing. Dyslexia is another common problem for those who have language processing disorders. They are unable to look at a word and really recognize what it is and means.

  • slide 3 of 4

    How to Help

    In order to help them out as much as possible, the teacher must provide the student with a lot of one-on-one instruction in order to aid in comprehension. Teachers need to ensure that the student understands as much language as possible. The use of pictures, models, and anything visual is great. Directions should be given to students with this disorder in small chunks, in order to help them comprehend. Overall, they need additional time to process and understand information.

    As you can see, having a language processing disorder can have a big impact on someone’s life. Imagine going through a day when you don’t understand or you misinterpret what people are telling you. For those with this disorder, they know this feeling all too well.