Language Processing Disorder: 2 Effective Treatments

About 5% of children in the United States are diagnosed with language processing disorder 1yearly. Yet, a lot of cases can remain undiagnosed.

A language processing disorder is a neurological problem where the affected person finds it difficult to communicate through a spoken language. What causes a language processing disorder?

It can be either due to developmental disorders in prenatal life2 or a traumatic event affecting the brain. The developmental disturbance shows its effect right from birth, which is why most children get involved.

In contrast, the reason for adults suffering from LPD might mostly be a traumatic event or a brain injury in the past.

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Photo by Paul Hanaoka on Unsplash/What causes a language processing disorder?

Types Of Language Processing Disorders

Not all children suffering from language disorders are the same. The disorder has two forms; expressive disorder and receptive disorder.3

1. Expressive Language Disorders

A child suffering from expressive language processing disorder has trouble expressing his thoughts and emotions. The child’s intellectual ability may be average or above average, but they cannot convey their ideas verbally.

Symptoms and Signs of Expressive Language Disorder

Recognizing Someone Suffering From Expressive Language Disorders4

Check for these signs in your child or partner:

  • The child uses a limited vocabulary for their age.
  • They use a lot of vague filler words such as “um,” “uh,” “thing,” and “like” in between a sentence instead of using specific words.
  • They tend to repeat the sentences.
  • They get confused with the verb tenses, and sometimes the sentences don’t even make sense.
  • They have trouble learning new words when compared to other children.
  • They often get agitated by their inability to express themselves through language.
  • Delayed speech.
  • Trouble rhyming at an early age( 3-4 Years)

2. Receptive Language Disorders

A child with receptive language processing difficulty has trouble understanding spoken language. Here, the person’s ability to hear might be normal, but their poor language processing skills hinder them from communicating effectively.

Symptoms and Signs of Receptive Language Disorders

Recognizing Someone Suffering From Receptive Language Disorders.5

Common symptoms of receptive language disorders are:

  • The child appears to be dissociated from other children.
  • They often have trouble understanding jokes.
  • They have difficulty taking in verbal instructions and thus act inappropriately.
  • They are unable to follow directions.
  • They seem disinterested in joining a conversation or participating in social events.

Developmental Language Disorder - Boys Town National Research Hospital Web

Other Learning Disabilities That Are Misdiagnosed As LPD

1. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)

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As the children have language processing difficulties, they lose focus on the class due to exhaustion. They seem as if they are not interested in the class and are often considered as having ADD.

We can treat Attention deficit disorder with drugs but not the symptoms of language processing disorder.

2. Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Auditory processing disorder
By sophiecat/

Receptive language disorder is often confused with an Auditory processing disorder, also a common processing disorder. However, one must understand the difference between language and auditory processing disorders.

A child with APD finds it challenging to interpret what they hear. It differs from deafness because they have normal hearing, but noisy environments or background noise decrease their listening skills. They even may have trouble hearing the differences between different sounds.

An audiologist assesses APD, whereas a speech-language specialist evaluates language-processing disorder symptoms.

3. Dyslexia

By Aliona Rondeau/

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that involves trouble reading comprehension, language comprehension, language development, spelling, and sometimes even writing.

The kids with this disability are usually smart but cannot correlate the letters they see to the sounds they make, making it difficult for them to read or spell.

There is no proper treatment for dyslexia6. Recognizing it early is the only way to cure it, but speech therapy can treat language processing disorder.7

Problems Faced by People Suffering From Language Processing Disorders

Have you ever deviated and lost track of what the other person is speaking or imagined something in your mind and suddenly forgotten the right word for it? Most of them often experience this kind of situation, which feels awkward. Imagine a child who goes through this problem daily.

Many children with language processing difficulties are subjected to harassment and are bullied by peers in schools and colleges. This leaves a significant negative impact on the child’s mental health.

In addition to these issues, having difficulty understanding language makes it hard for the child to succeed academically.

Bullying faced by a kid with Language processing disorder
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels. Copyright 2021.

How to Diagnose LPD

The effective treatment strategy is based on early recognition of the language processing disorder symptoms and their intervention. If your child’s (or yours) language or communication skills are bothering you, try to consult a speech therapist as early as possible.

If you are a resident of the United States, you can also get a free evaluation through the state’s early intervention program.

The speech therapist conducts various assessments to confirm whether your child has language processing deficits. It is essential to ensure that the child is tested in the language they are most comfortable with. To do so, most speech therapists would discuss the child’s academic and social skills with the caregivers and rule out the possibility of hearing impairment in the first step.

Later they begin testing the child’s language processing skills by asking them to sort items based on similarities or differences or form associations between them. As language processing disorders affect various areas of expressive and receptive communication, it is essential to know that every child has a unique area of concern.

A few commonly affected areas of communication include:

  • Phonological awareness: the ability to identify individual sounds within the words
  • Short term memory
  • Difficulty in pronunciation (especially of long words with many syllables)
  • Grammar and vocabulary
  • Receptive language skills like the ability to understand instructions
  • Expressive vocabulary and labelling accuracy

Based on the area involved, the private specialist determines the severity of the disorder using standardized tests and comes up with a timely diagnosis. Depending on the diagnosis, one can receive appropriate treatment.

Let’s get to know the various treatment options available for treating LPD.

Treatment Options for Language Processing Disorders

Suppose the language disorder is detected before your child attends school (preschoolers). In that case, the specialists plan a detailed individualized family service plan on what services the child should receive and what the specialists expect the prognosis to look like.

If your child has already started to go to school by the time of diagnosis, you can look for support from the private school or public school system. They can formally request an in-depth evaluation from a speech-language therapist.

If you are an adult with a language disorder, it is still necessary to quickly seek help from a private specialist. The private speech therapist has more flexible scheduling and devises different methods to determine an effective treatment strategy.

a. Speech-Language Therapy (SLT)

Speech-language therapy is the first and best option for people suffering from LPD. This therapy focuses mainly on improving basic cognitive skills such as attention, listening comprehension, and short-term memory and then gradually works its way to language processing.

Numerous studies have proven that speech therapy significantly affects language development in young children. But for older children or adults, the language disorder has already negatively affected their ability to communicate appropriately. In these cases, psychotherapy is recommended as well.

Speech language therapy
Photo by cottonbro from Pexels. Copyright 2021

b. Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy also benefits children with language processing difficulty by improving their speaking and listening skills. It also helps one to speak about their past and helps to overcome their emotions.

Psychotherapy is crucial to enhance social skills, especially in adults suffering from trauma.

Role of Parents and Caregivers

Children with language processing disorder may need special education methods to improve their condition. So, parents need to acknowledge their situation and offer support accordingly.

Here are a few things you can do as a parent or a caregiver.

  • Visual Models

Prepare pictures and visual aids to communicate by using them whenever they have difficulty finding words. They can also be implemented when learning new words or vocabulary. This method boosts their learning style.

  • Be Patient and Caring.

Due to their intellectual disabilities, they often seem frustrated and lonely. It means a lot to them if you can understand their feelings and communicate with them accordingly.

Always be slow and patient while talking to your child, and use easy-to-understand and straightforward vocabulary.

  • Be Supportive

Be committed to your child’s needs and always look for measures to help them improve their language disorder. Make sure that your child’s school or environment supports their language processing needs.

parent child relationship
Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels./


For people with language disorders, difficulty understanding spoken language or expressing themselves verbally can be a constant reality. We must identify the disorder at an early stage for a better prognosis. A speech-language therapist can diagnose and treat symptoms of the language-processing disorder.

However, the role played by the parents in supporting their child’s language disorder is equally important. Parents should also be able to communicate effectively on their child’s behalf.

The treatment prognosis is not solely dependent on a single person but on the collective effort of parents, health care providers, school management, and the individual affected with the disorder.

We can completely cure language processing disorder with early intervention and appropriate treatment.

Special Child Their Needs & Parents Role
Icy Health/Early signs of language processing disorder

Read more from us here.

Also read: Importance of Acknowledgement in Relationships

Expressive Personality Type

  1. Dawes, Piers, and Dorothy Bishop. “Auditory processing disorder in relation to developmental disorders of language, communication and attention: a review and critique.” International journal of language & communication disorders 44.4 (2009): 440-465. ↩︎
  2. Kofman, Ora. “The role of prenatal stress in the etiology of developmental behavioural disorders.” Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 26.4 (2002): 457-470. ↩︎
  3. Stojanovik, Vesna, and Patricia Riddell. “Expressive versus receptive language skills in specific reading disorder.” Clinical linguistics & phonetics 22.4-5 (2008): 305-310. ↩︎
  4. Leonard, Laurence B. “Is expressive language disorder an accurate diagnostic category?.” (2009). ↩︎
  5. Moyle, Maura, and Steven Long. “Receptive language disorders.” Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders (2021): 3880-3885. ↩︎
  6. Schulte-Körne, Gerd. “The prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dyslexia.” Deutsches Ärzteblatt International 107.41 (2010): 718. ↩︎
  7. Fey, Marc E., et al. “Auditory processing disorder and auditory/language interventions: An evidence-based systematic review.” (2011). ↩︎

Last Updated on by ayeshayusuf


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