- Difficulty understanding and following directions or instructions.
- Becomes overwhelmed when given 2 or multi step directions.
- Often doesn't understand longer more complex sentences, thus becomes confused easily.
- Struggles with figurative versus literal language and will usually need explanations.
- Regularly requires clarification and to have the instructions/directions repeated. Often uses the term 'I don't know' or 'I forget'.The child may be able to read but when questioned about the passage just read, he/she has limited understanding.
- Provide ample opportunties for the child to practice effective listening behaviors. You can do this by making sure the child understands the goals. For instance, before you give the instructions, let the student know that he will be responsible for repeating them.
- Each time the student is reading, provide opportunties for him/her to predict outcomes or why the character acted in that way.
- Chunk information into small pieces at a time, use headings when possible.
- Make frequent eye contact and focus the student by using close proximity or a touch on the shoulder, this often helps to engage the student.
- Clarify and demonstrate organizational strategies that will assist the student.
- Teach the student how to use effective organizers like agendas and to do lists.
- Whenever possible, ask the student to re-tell stories and re-state directions and instructions.
- Provide reading materials that are matched to the child's interest and ability level.
- ALWAYS present information in short, simple sentences and repeat them often or present information both orally and in writing.
- Encourage this type of student to seek clarification when uncertain.
- Be sure to provide a variety of listening opportunities for students that have follow up activities.
What can you do?
There are a variety of strategies and approaches you can use to support the language deficits mentioned above. Once again, a consistent approach is vital in order for this type of student to achieve success. Communication between home and school is important. It is important that there is consistency between approaches used and home and at school; after all, both parents and teachers share the goals for students. The following list of strategies will help with the programming needs of the language deficit student:
Remember, language is complex for a large number of students, be patient and consistent. Success is usually seen in small steps when the above strategies are implemented consistently.