Many children with language delays or learning disabilities once diagnosed are told they have 'processing delays'. This really refers to the time it takes for the child to process information from text, from oral information or to decipher vocabulary. They often have the language skills to comprehend, but require additional time to determine meaning. They often have language comprehension ability lower than their same age group.
Difficulties in processing language impacts the student in the classroom as the information coming to the child is often at a greater pace than the child is capable of processing. Children with language processing delays are at a greater disadvantage in the classroom setting.
Here are 10 strategies to support the child with language processing delays:
1. When presenting information, make sure you are engaging the child. Establish eye contact.
2. Repeat directions/instructions and/or have the student repeat them for you.
3. Use concrete materials to support learning concepts.
4. Break your tasks into chunks, especially those requiring auditory attention.
5. Allow additional time for the student to process and additional time for recall of information.
6. Provide repetition, examples and encouragement regularly.
7. Be sure the child understands that he/she can request clarification at any time, make sure the child is comfortable asking for help.
8. Slow down when you speak and repeat instructions, directions often.
9. Tap into the child's prior knowledge regularly to help the child make meaningful connections.
10. Reduce pressure whenever possible and observe the child as much as possible to ensure that understanding is in check and always, always be supportive.
Fortunately, with early intervention and proper teaching strategies, many of the language processing deficits are reversible. Hopefully the suggestions here will aid both teachers and parents to eliminate the struggles these children would otherwise be confronted with.