language processing disorder in children
school-based learning

Understanding language processing disorder: proven ways for treatment

When most hear that a child has a language processing disorder, many think it has something to do with a child’s ability to speak. Fortunately, it does not.

Language processing disorder is about the ability to use spoken language while understanding its meaning and others.

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What is language processing disorder?

What this disorder does is makes it difficult for people to articulate themselves and understand what others are saying. In children, this disorder was formerly known as a receptive-expressive language disorder, which will be explained more below.

This disorder is also unrelated to issues with hearing.

According to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, it happens in 10 to 15 percent of those under three years old. Language capacity is usually more robust by age four and can be more reliably evaluated to assess whether a deficiency occurs or not.

Types of language processing disorders

The three significant forms of language disorder that exist are:

Expressive language disorder: As they speak, children have difficulty getting their point out. Sometimes, they struggle to bring words together into sentences that make sense.

Receptive language disorder: Children are unable to acquire a sense of what their peers say. Because of this, they tend to respond in ways that are unrelated or do not make sense. 

Mixed receptive expressive disorder: Some children struggle with both language usage and comprehension. This makes it harder for children to engage in a conversation.

Signs of a language disorder

Related to Expression:

A language disorder is first noted in childhood. When children or people, in general, can not remember the correct term, we tend to overuse “um” and “ah.”

Additional signs can include:

  • Reduced language
  • The inability to form a complete sentence
  • Omitting words
  • Repeating a question while thinking of its answer
  • The inability to have a proper conversation

It can be hard to determine if these signs are that of a language processing disorder because these signs are also part of the development of everyday language.

However, if any of these symptoms don’t change as your child gets older, your child may have a language impairment.

Related to Comprehending Others:

Having a tough time interpreting others as they talk is an equally significant feature of this condition. This can lead to trouble following directions at home and school.

Paying attention to your child’s language development is key. There could be a concern if your child is 18 months old and does not follow one-step instructions. “Pick up your toy” may be an example of a one-step instruction.

Or if your child doesn’t respond orally or with a nod or headshake to questions at 30 months, then it could be a symptom of a language disorder. has a great language development chart if you want to see how your child is progressing.

Treatment methods for Language Processing disorder

Through the combined actions of family, therapists, speech-language pathologists, and other health providers, the disorder can often be treated.

The Complete Examination: Visiting your child’s doctor for a full physical is the first course of action. Some disorders, such as a hearing deficiency or other sensory disorder, will help rule out or detect this.

Language Therapy: Speech and language instruction was the predominant treatment for language disabilities.

Treatment can depend on the child’s age and the origin and nature of the illness. For starters, with a speech-language therapist, your child can engage in one-on-one treatment sessions or attend group sessions.

The speech-language therapist will interact with your child using methods of play and talking to help stimulate language development. Early detection also plays an integral part in a positive result.  

understanding language processing disorder
Understanding Language Processing Disorder: Proven Ways For Treatment

Parenting tips

If you have recently discovered that your child has a language impairment, I know you will have concerns about what to do next. Below are suggestions on how to help your child better.

Understanding how they are affected by the language disorder makes it possible to know how to support them.

Investigate Treatments & Interventions for Language Disorders 

Speak to your child’s teachers and physicians about language disorder treatment options. Speech therapy will be very beneficial. As mentioned above, they use play to help your child relate and develop language skills.

Through play, your child is more engaged, and it is a more relatable way to introduce language skills. 

Look at the School Resources

Speak to your school’s principal about what aids and programs could be useful. An IEP could have targets for speech therapy or social ability. Speak to the school about informal assistance to help if your child doesn’t qualify for an IEP or 504 packages.

And if your child has not been tested by the school yet, find out how to obtain a free assessment.

Teaching tips

Kids with language processing disorder have no problems pronouncing phrases or sounds on their own. Instead, they cannot remember the words they want and bring them together in the right order.

They often have difficulty knowing what they are being told. The teacher plays quite a role in the everyday learning of these kids, and for that, here are some tips that they might need to follow:

Be Patient.

Before they answer, these children need more time to understand questions and bring their thoughts together thoroughly. They can talk slowly or too rapidly and repeat themselves or use filler, leaving out crucial phrases.

Give them the opportunity they need to have vocabulary or guidance without interrupting or jumping in.

If they wander off the subject, steer them kindly and encourage them to proceed.

Allow Them to Prepare

When they’re called on spontaneously in class, it can be challenging for children with language disabilities to react.

Tell them in advance that you will question them about their opinions, and they are welcome to make notes if required and refer to them later on.

Model Behaviors.

For expressive language disorder, it is essential to promote as much repetition of full phrases as possible.

Model a complete, correct sentence and encourage them to repeat it if they answer a one-word response.


It is difficult to avoid a language processing disorder, mainly because the precise cause of disability is widely unknown. However, by working directly with a speech-language pathologist, it’s possible to minimize the condition’s effects.

Having a psychologist will also help you cope with the physical and behavioral wellness that the state can cause.

If you’ve found this article on language processing disorder helpful, please use the share buttons to pass it along to others that may benefit from it. Thanks!

language processing disorder

About the author

Erika is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant working in an elementary school setting. She wanted to create a blog and podcast that shows all sides of school-based learning. Her #1 focus is on providing parents of children with learning disabilities with relevant information in hopes of making each day a little more functional. So if you are interested in more content like this, please sign up below.

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