Language Challenges Uncovered: The Foundation for Academic Achievement Part 2

Foundation of Language chart

The foundation of language needed for academic achievement

If language is the foundation for academic achievement then what do language challenges look like in everyday life? There are many areas that can impact language including word finding, auditory processing, comprehension and

As a speech therapist one of the most telling signs of word finding problems  in children and adults is the frequent use of “thingy”, “it’s”, “stuff”, or frequent use of description to circumnavigate saying the intended word. some people are so good at this skill that they They may also say a word that is close to the word they want instead of the correct word. For example, they might say, “Give me that yellow thing on the table.” “Do you have the stuff?” A description in the first example and “stuff” in the second sentence replaces the name of the object. These are normal strategies, but if they are heavily used then a word finding problem might be suspected.

Someone with auditory processing problems may come to a speech therapist having difficulty with speech sounds or the ability to repeat three or four words in order. For example apple, rock, bed, door. Might become bed, door …apple. They can not hold all the words in their head. This makes acquiring new language forms difficult. There are many problems that could contribute to speech sound problems or poor word memory, but auditory processing challenges would be a logical place a speech therapist would assess.

Comprehension challenges can impact many areas. Following directions or reading and understanding  a passage are two examples .  For example, if given the direction, “Henry, go get the toothbrush, and soap so we can pack it in your bag. “ “Henry comes back with a regular brush or nothing at all.”  He may not have been attending to the direction, but he could also have trouble processing verbal information an assessment is need to determine the exact nature of the problem.

Verbal expression probably the least recognized difficulty may show up in the adult or child who rarely speaks. I once had a client say to me, “I’m quiet. I’m from a quiet family.” That was true, but because it was difficult for him to convey his ideas he was even less likely to speak. Not talking with peers, friends and in class  compounded the problem further because he didn’t  practice improving his speech. Even when he wanted to speak it was increasingly difficult for him.  People with language formulation problems may stumble on phrases, have frequent pauses, look up to the sky as if they are looking for the answer, and/or use frequent interjections when conveying their ideas.  Even with additional time and the use of fillers their ideas may still be disorganized.  Problems with comprehension, word finding, and language formulation are only a few of the language impairments and challenges that affect academic achievement.

When it comes to speech and language challenges, there is no one-size-fits-all. The deficit needs to be identified and addressed directly. Even small speech and language challenges can leave adults and children frustrated and demoralized with lowered self, if not adequately supported and addressed. There is no need for are language challenges to negatively impact academic achievement  if adequate support is offered.

Next: So what does language therapy consist of?

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2 Comments

  1. Harriet Heath Harriet Heath
    May 29, 2016    

    Good Morning Kai,

    Have not given your comprehensive web site enough time…. but wanted to let you know how amazing I find your holistic approach to be and that I so agree with your approach. As a former school psychologist I felt so often so frustrated because I knew we were not addressing the issues of a child, our approach was too fragmented and bogged down trying to find the right diagnosis. What you have written flows so logically….. Thanks, Harriet Heath

    • Kai Long Kai Long
      May 29, 2016    

      Thank you for looking. It is always so wonderful to meet other professionals that understand some of the issues children and adults with learning challenges face.

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