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Language Processing Disorder (LPD)

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Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is a type of Auditory Processing Disorder (APD), but specifically pertains to the processing of language. LPD affects the individual’s ability to attach meaning to sound groups that form words, sentences, and stories. While APD affects the interpretation of all sounds coming into the brain, LPD relates only to the processing of language. Individuals with LPD have difficulty understanding and making sense of language despite typically having normal hearing abilities.

LPD can affect expressive language (what a person says) and receptive language (how a person understands what is said to them). Children with LPD might hear language but have trouble interpreting it, which can lead to difficulties in both understanding and using spoken language effectively.

Symptoms of LPD may include:

  • Difficulty following spoken directions, particularly multi-step instructions
  • Problems with understanding the context of what is being said
  • Challenges with figurative language such as idioms, jokes, or proverbs
  • Difficulty extracting the key points from a conversation or a story
  • Trouble with verbal expression, such as finding the right words, formulating sentences, or staying on topic
  • Inconsistent understanding of the same word or phrases from one time to another
  • Taking longer to respond in conversations due to needing extra time to process what has been heard

Diagnosis of LPD:

  • Speech-Language Evaluation: A speech-language pathologist (SLP) can conduct an evaluation to assess both receptive and expressive language skills and determine if there is a language processing disorder.
  • Educational Assessment: LPD often affects academic performance, so an educational assessment might also be necessary to understand its impact on learning.

Treatment for LPD typically involves:

  • Language Therapy: Speech-language therapy can be very effective in treating LPD. An SLP will work with the individual on specific skills such as building vocabulary, understanding the structure of language, and improving expressive or receptive language abilities.
  • Educational Interventions: In the classroom, teachers can implement strategies to help the child with LPD, such as giving written instructions, providing outlines or notes, or allowing more time for processing oral information.
  • Home Support: Parents can support language development at home through reading together, talking about daily activities, and playing language-based games.

LPD is a complex disorder, and interventions often need to be tailored to the individual needs of the child. A multidisciplinary approach involving SLPs, educators, psychologists, and parents is usually the most effective way to support individuals with LPD.

The Pediatric.me content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for medical advice of a physician