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How Language Processing Disorder Affects Classroom Learning

Happy students from Lydian Academy

Having a language processing disorder can make it difficult for students of any age to develop speech and language skills. Understanding the challenge of processing problems can help parents and teachers to support these students in their academic success.

What Is Language Processing Disorder?

Language processing disorder, or LPD, is really an umbrella term that covers a variety of challenges that make it difficult to comprehend language and use words to communicate. While LPD is classified as a learning disability, it covers a broad range of symptoms or signs that processing language is particularly challenging.

One child with LPD might read and write well but have difficulty processing spoken instructions or information. Another student might struggle with speaking or picking up subtle cues like sarcasm in spoken language. When these processing problems begin to cause language delays or impact school performance and quality of life, additional support might be needed.

Language processing difficulties can coincide with ADHD and executive function challenges. These students learn differently but can advance and overcome these difficulties in supportive classroom environments where their strengths are leveraged to help them receive, process, and draw conclusions from spoken or written language.

Types of Language Processing Disorders

There are three types of processing difficulty that are commonly included under the LPD umbrella:

  • Receptive language disorder, which is difficulty understanding information from spoken or written words
  • Expressive language disorder, which is having difficulty using words to communicate thoughts, feelings, or needs
  • Mixed language disorder, which is a combination of both expressive and receptive language processing challenges

Symptoms of Language Processing Disorder

Student with LPD learning at Lydian Academy

It is believed that processing speed is at the core of these language challenges. When someone falls behind in processing verbal instructions or information, they begin to miss key points and struggle to string logical concepts together. They may miss verbal clues or lose track of the subject altogether.

These difficulties lead to symptoms of LPD in the classroom and at home, including:

  • Struggling to understand the meanings being conveyed by language
  • Misspelling and mispronouncing words or dropping syllables
  • Difficulty remembering words and using filler words like “um” and “uh”
  • Feeling frustrated when trying to remember words or communicate their ideas
  • Having trouble following directions or remembering instructions with multiple steps

Additionally, these may be noted:

  • May have delayed language development, be slow to learn to read, or be unable to read aloud
  • May misunderstand social cues and respond with depression or withdraw from social situations
  • Hearing loss or other learning challenges might be suspected

How Is LPD Different from Auditory Processing Disorder?

These two terms are sometimes used together, because they may have similar symptoms, but the cause is different. Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a neurological problem that makes it difficult for someone to process any auditory information. Sounds of any kind can be misinterpreted by the brain in these individuals.

Language processing disorder is specifically related to the processing of language, rather than the inability to hear sounds correctly. The challenges of LPD are specific to hearing or reading words and having difficulty processing their meanings correctly, or remembering words and sentences.

APD learning challenges can also be overcome with appropriate treatment and support.

Strategies to Help Students With LPD in the Classroom

Students studying together in a small group at Lydian Academy

Children with language processing disorders are eligible for accommodations and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) that can help keep parents and teachers on the same page regarding support for the student. Every learner is unique, but there are some strategies that can help these students process language more effectively.

Speech therapy can help these students with articulation, comprehension, expression, and social norms of speaking and writing. Some form of speech therapy is an important resource for those with language processing challenges. Once this basic need is met, classroom teachers can help by:

  • Using nonverbal signals and visual cues to add a layer of communication to the spoken word
  • Keeping visual clutter and background noise to a minimum to help the student focus and process
  • Offering extra time to answer questions verbally in class, and extra time for written testing and assignments
  • Providing materials like lesson outlines and notes to help students follow along without losing track of the verbal information because they are writing notes
  • Offering adequate downtime, recess, and breaks to lessen the stress of processing while working at the student’s own pace
  • Using word prediction, speech-to-text, or text-to-speech software for assistance
  • Considering one-on-one learning environments that focus on mastery of the topic and have the most flexibility in teaching style and method

Advocacy and Acceptance for Students with LPD

Without the proper support in the classroom and at home, students with language processing challenges can be left behind, and suffer low self-esteem and even develop school avoidance. At Lydian Academy, we specialize in helping unique learners with programs specifically designed for each student.

With our one-to-one teaching model and flexible scheduling, Lydian Academy helps students who learn differently to overcome challenges like ADHD, APD, LPD, and other processing delays or challenges. Our dedicated instructors build a rapport with their students and adjust methods to suit the learning style and pace of each learner.

Help your child overcome the effects of language processing issues while they rediscover their love of learning and self-confidence in the classroom. Contact us today to learn about rolling enrollment that allows you to make the switch when it makes sense for your child. Attend a virtual open house or tour our campuses in Burlingame and Menlo Park, CA to see how Lydian Academy approaches the unique needs of students and families like yours.

We offer a unique year-round one-on-one learning experience, personalized to you and your schedule.

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