Language Processing Disorders in Children

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A language processing disorder can be a severe impairment to live with, especially for a child.

We’ve all experienced a time and place where we couldn’t come up with a specific word. For children with LPD, it can be an everyday challenge.

As a result, they often find themselves unable to keep up with conversations.

What is language processing disorder? As a parent of a child that might have LPD, how do you go about addressing this issue?

What Is Language Processing Disorder?

The simplest way to describe language processing disorders is an impairment that prevents you from communicating verbally.

It does not mean that you cannot speak but that you cannot use verbal language to communicate.

This disorder only refers to the inability to process language in a receptive or expressive manner.

Every child with LPD will experience it in a different way and with different severities.

Some might experience challenges with following conversations, while others cannot turn thoughts into words.

In such cases, it’s very often that children cannot describe how they feel or something they’re thinking of.

Language disorders can be challenging to diagnose, especially if you consider personality traits.

Some children are distracted or shy; however, a language disorder can significantly impact children’s lives.

Often, those with LPD will withdraw from social situations entirely, which can be quite hazardous to their health.

It’s also likely that children who do not receive the proper care and attention will become more angry and aggressive.

The sheer frustration of not being able to describe your feelings or to communicate effectively can be overwhelming.

They will also begin to show significant signs of discouragement and an increased number of negative behaviors.

What Are the Different Types of Processing Disorders?

Children can have challenges with both receptive and expressive processing at the same time.

You’ll find that there are plenty of situations that can influence the development of these disabilities, including:

  • Trauma
  • Neurological disorders
  • Illnesses
  • Strokes
  • Brain damage
  • Physical injury

With that said, what are the different types of processing disorders?

There are two main categories of language processing disorders, known as receptive and expressive.

Receptive Learning Disorders

Processing, understanding, and interpreting words can be incredibly challenging with a receptive learning disorder.

It will seem nearly impossible for children to make sense of instructions and verbal conversation.

Expressive Learning Disorders

On the other hand, expressive learning disorders relate to language output rather than input.

Children will find it challenging to express their thoughts, translate feelings into words, and communicate their needs.

Often, their speech is incoherent and disorganized, which can make it challenging for others to follow.

Is Dyslexia a Language Processing Disorder?

Dyslexia is scientifically described as being a learning disorder.

Individuals with this learning difference will show significant problems with connecting speech sounds to words and letters.

There will be impairments in how they write, read, spell, and speak.

With that said, is dyslexia a language processing disorder?

It’s often referred to as a reading disability; however, it can also affect the brain’s language processing areas.

There are six different types of dyslexia that affect other areas, including:

  • Phonological: Difficulty breaking speech down into specific sounds
  • Surface: Takes longer to process and decode the language
  • Visual: Challenges with remembering words on pages
  • Primary: Genetically inherited types of dyslexia
  • Secondary/Development: Dyslexia that develops as a result of neurological impairment
  • Acquired: Presents itself as a result of brain injury, trauma, or disease
language processing disorder

Language Processing Disorder Symptoms

Noticing if your child has LPD can happen in early childhood.

If they start to exhibit any of these language processing disorder symptoms, it’s recommended you talk to your family doctor.

Late Talking

It’s easy to notice late talking if you compare your child’s development to the average milestones for their age.

Parents will often find their children start talking far later than their peers, which could be a significant sign.

Distraction and Shyness

One of the reasons mild learning disorders can be ignored is because they’re often attributed to shyness.

It’s common for children with LPD to appear distracted or lost in their thoughts throughout the day. They’ll also be highly unlikely to communicate with their caregivers or peers.

Attention Deficits

In more severe cases, children will be noticeably unable to put any of their attention into tasks. They will often seem aloof, uninterested, or appear to not be listening in the slightest.

Typically, this behavior can result in children getting tested for ADHD or ADD.

Fortunately, by testing for any attention deficit learning disorder, language disorders can also be diagnosed.

Inability to Follow Instructions

One of the most significant challenges children face with LPD is following instructions.

Because they could be unable to understand the instructions, they will often show a lack of interest. Also, they could be exceptionally exhausted due to their lack of focus.

Some children with this disorder exhibit negative behaviors as well as poor grades in school.

Listening Concerns

Language processing disorder can be a massive contributor to your child’s behavior at school.

Teachers will frequently have to repeat instructions in an effort to help your child process them adequately.

However, with this disorder, it is nearly impossible for them to listen appropriately to commands.

Also, because they are unable to understand instructions from their teachers, they are likely to be more unruly.

The frustration of being unable to express themselves can lead to feelings of insecurity and anger, as well.

As a result, students with these challenges are likely to experience more behavior issues in class.

They will also be far more likely to act out at home, especially if they’re instructed to do something.

Communication Challenges

These issues are particularly noticeable in children with an expressive language disorder.

Communication challenges are a sure-fire way to determine if it’s time to seek speech therapy.

Some of the most common difficulties your child may experience are:

  • Consistently repeating phrases
  • Poor vocabulary
  • Inability to learn new words
  • Difficulty with writing
  • Can draw objects but cannot name them
  • Using filler words more often than usual
  • Inability to find the right word
  • Highly frustrated with the inability to communicate
  • Symptoms of depression

Inconsistent Performance

If a child can listen to instructions and perform adequately, their scores will be the same across the board.

Unfortunately, children with LPD will have inconsistent school performance depending on their environment.

Noisy classrooms could significantly impact their grades, as they are more challenging to concentrate in.

There will be significant anomalies in their performance in specific subjects depending on the assignment.

Problems With Sequencing

When it comes to listing a series of events, listening to the description from your child can be difficult.

With LPD, sequencing is a substantial challenge, as it’s hard to put items in the correct order.

You might notice that when they’re telling stories, their list of events won’t make sense or be highly inaccurate.

Language Processing Disorder Checklist

This language processing disorder checklist can help you decide when to visit a speech therapist.

As there are many symptoms and signs of language processing disorder, it’s essential to keep this list handy.

  • Limited vocabulary
  • Consistent use of filler words
  • Difficulty learning new words
  • Frequently confuses verb tenses
  • Unable to express their emotions
  • Expressed sentences rarely make sense
  • Use repetitive phrases when answering questions
  • Frustration from unclear thoughts
  • Disinterested in social situations
  • Challenges with following directions
  • Poor school performance
  • Frequently misunderstand commands
  • Signs of shyness and withdrawal

Can Language Processing Disorder Be Cured?

Fortunately, language processing disorder can be treated with the help of speech therapy.

There are several unique processes that professionals will go through to help your child communicate adequately.

Although it’s not a curable challenge, your child will lead a far more productive life with professional help.

So, how can language processing disorder be cured?

It’s best if children can receive early intervention, as this can make a significant improvement.

Over 70% of children respond positively to speech therapy, helping them to lead everyday lives.

You might also find that psychotherapy is a fantastic addition to your child’s treatments.

With psychotherapy, they will receive assistance with the emotional effects of the disorder.

Children will learn healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anger and frustration. Also, they can further their knowledge of knowing how to communicate their feelings effectively.

When you make the jump to visit a speech therapist, they will provide you with a detailed treatment plan.

By sticking to the therapy plan, your children will significant improve their social development skills.

language processing disorder

How Can Language Processing Be Improved?

Language processing can be improved by following the advice of a trained professional. There are several things your child will be able to do, including:

Speech Therapy

There are three main types of speech therapy to consider: individual, group, and in-class.


With individual speech therapy, participants will work through complex sessions to address their language blocks.

It’s best suited for children who require one-on-one attention due to severe language disorders.

Also, children with more than one learning disability can benefit significantly from individual speech therapy.


Group speech therapy is highly recommended for many young children, as it’s the most effective.

In group settings, they will be able to learn about the challenges faced by their peers. They can also have a stronger understanding of how their troubles relate to others their age.

In this type of setting, children can learn about positive and negative behaviors. It also helps them to understand that they aren’t alone.


Another option for children is in-class therapy, which could be available through their school.

With this choice, a speech therapist will visit your child’s classroom to teach your child alongside their teacher.

It’s one of the most effective ways to help struggling students with understanding their lessons.

It’s often the only choice for parents, especially as most teachers aren’t professionally trained in speech therapy.

With in-class assistance, students can get the attention they need in natural social settings to learn more effectively.

Speech Therapy Goals

Regardless of the type of therapy your child receives, the goals will remain the same.

Some of the most notable areas a speech-language pathologist or therapist will reinforce include:


By working through lists of objects, therapists will help children to categorize items into specific groups.

For example, grouping together a list of instruments, food, or vehicles.

Identifying Similarities and Differences

When comparing objects to one another, children will be required to identify their differences and similarities.

With this process, they can begin to understand the relationships between specific objects.

Improving Descriptive Language

The more your child is able to understand related items, the easier it will be for them to begin describing.

By improving their descriptive language, they will be able to better express their thoughts and feelings.

Also, it can assist them to better understand how to label and name particular items.

Using Idioms, Metaphors, Analogies, and Slang

There are plenty of slang terms that we use in our everyday lives.

For someone with language processing disorder, they are unable to catch onto slang and idioms.

Using analogies and metaphors can also be exceptionally difficult to manage.

With the help of a speech therapist, they will be able to better grasp informal methods of communication.

You’ll find these teachings will assist them in both their written and verbal communication skills.

School-Based Accommodations

As language and learning are two significant problem areas with this disorder, they need to be addressed.

Working alongside your child’s school can help you to come up with school-based accommodations for their learning.

These improvements could include:

  • Addressing lesson planning
  • Specialized teaching methods
  • Proper interpretation of instructions
  • Specialized assignments and tests

Improving At-Home Communication

It’s important to note that children with language processing disorder need special care when communicating.

In your home, you can navigate their challenges by focusing on how you can improve conversations.

For example, allowing your children to find the right words to describe their feelings instead of finishing their sentences for them.

Singing and talking are two other fantastic things to start implementing in your household as often as possible.

By opening the doors for your child to practice their language skills, they can improve independently.

Also, it will allow them to establish independence and confidence in their abilities.

Proper Education

At the end of the day, as the parent, you have to make all of your child’s medical decisions.

Properly educating yourself about their condition and their needs can give you all the power you need.

Parents who are well aware of language processing disorder ensure their children get the care they require.

Not only will you feel more comfortable conquering the struggles along the way, but your children will also be as well.

The Challenges of Language Processing Disorder

If you’re asking how can language processing be improved, you will find several methods and techniques, one of which is speech therapy.

Living with language processing disorder can be difficult, especially without the help of speech therapy.

Keeping a keen eye on your child’s development can help you to get early intervention when it’s needed most.