You are on page 1of 3

Language Processing Disorders (LPD)
What is a Language Processing disorder?
Imagine traveling to a foreign country without ever having learned the language spoken there.
This is the difficulty experienced by children when they cannot process language.
A language processing disorder (LPD) can be described as having extreme difficulty
understanding what you hear and expressing what you want to say.
These disorders affect the area of the brain that controls language processing. Language
processing disorders are sometimes called auditory processing disorders. They are characterized
by difficulty understanding and processing what is being heard. This does not necessarily mean
that the child has a hearing loss; rather their brain does not process or interpret auditory
information properly.
The auditory nervous system is the pathway that carries sound from the inner ear to the brain for
understanding. This system is continuously developing until approximately twelve years of age.
LPD is a neurological problem, but the exact cause is unknown. There are currently no
conclusive studies that say why the auditory system of one child develops more quickly than it
does for another.
How is it diagnosed?
LPD is usually diagnosed with a combination of professionals:

Neuropsychologist (assesses cognitive capacity and actual achievement in order to

identify the presence of a learning disability, as well as to provide strengths and
weaknesses to determine the most beneficial type of therapy)

Speech-Language Pathologist


Language processing disorders can occur with speech and language difficulties, learning
disabilities, attention deficits or developmental disabilities.
What does it look like?

Students with this disorder have difficulty reading, spelling, writing, or even speaking; basically
anything having to do with language becomes very difficult for them. There are other skills that
are needed to deal with auditory information, and are affected by LPD. These skills include:
attention, memory, following directions, learning and hearing.
Children with a language processing disorder often have problems in the following areas:

following multi-step directions

paying attention in noisy environments such as classrooms, loud parties, malls, etc

following spoken directions

rhyming, spelling, reading, writing (many kids have difficulty with written expression,
finding it difficult to formulate thoughts in their head, and then somehow get them down
on paper)

understanding and participating in conversations with peers and adults

vocabulary and sentence structure

How to help

Treatment is based upon each childs individual needs, but most often focuses on
improving listening skills and strategies to help the child be a successful learner at school
and in the community.

Treatment is best with a team approach; this team may include a speech-language
pathologist, audiologist, teacher, and the childs pediatrician.

One-on-one instruction to help with comprehension

Use pictures, models, anything visual

give directions in small chunks, and get the childs attention before giving directions (eg.,
instead of saying Go get ready, its time for school, say, Brush your teeth, get your
backpack, and put on your coat)

Give simple, direct instructions, and speak clearly when facing the child

Allow extra time for processing and understanding information

Ask the child to restate what he heard; this allows the speaker to identify errors, and help
the child correct them

Establish predictable routines, both at home and in school

Helpful websites

LDonline (

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (

American Academy of Audiology (

LD Resources (

National Center for Learning Disabilities (

Council for Exceptional Children (