Many children, particularly those with attention concerns, have problems processing language.
Children with language processing concerns struggle to attach meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences and stories. This means that they hear well, but have difficulties understanding what you are saying. It is often worse when there is a noisy background, two or more people are talking, or if the child is distracted.
Signs and Symptoms of Language Processing Concerns.
- Has difficulty gaining meaning from spoken language
- Problems writing words and ideas
- Poor reading comprehension
- Has difficulties explaining themselves in words
- Struggles with labeling objects or recognizing labels
- Is often frustrated by having a lot to say and no way to say it
- Feels that words are “right on the tip of my tongue”
- Can describe an object and draw it, but can’t think of the word for it
Suggestions For Parents to Help Their Child with Language Processing.
- You will have greater success in communicating with your child if there are no other activities (other children or adults laughing or talking, television or radio playing, dishwasher or vacuum cleaner running, ect.) competing with you.
- During communication, learn to control your child’s environment by providing a quiet setting. Take the child to a quiet room, shut off the TV, ask others to be quiet for a moment, etc.
- Delay important conversation until a quiet time can be found.
- Make a point of finding “quiet conversation periods” on a regular basis during each day.
- If your child seems to hear some things but not others, do not assume he/she is purposely ignoring you.
- Simplify your language level if your child does not seem to understand.
- Try slowing down your rate of speech if your child continues to have trouble understanding. One way to accomplish this is to pause between utterances, especially after your child has finished talking and before you respond.
- If you must repeat something for your child, try saying it in a different way (different words, different type of sentence).
- Do not have discussions when you and your child are in separate rooms.
- When conversing, allow the child adequate time to respond.
- Your child may need time to rest and recuperate after school. Also, allow time for relaxation before asking him/her to do chores, homework, etc.
- Read aloud to your child and discuss what you have read.
- Praise any accomplishments (academic or otherwise) that represent even small improvements over previous levels. It is not helpful to compare his performance to other children.
Author: Cindy Anderson
Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Clinical Child Psychologist. She also owns Hope Springs Behavioral Consultants. Dr. Anderson has achieved a high degree of specialization in working with children and families. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and completed APA Accredited internship and postdoctoral training in Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology. She prides herself as a life-long student and tries to learn something new every day.
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