What kinds of issues do children have with a language comprehension disorder?
- Understanding others
- Following directions
- Answering “Wh” questions
- Using language appropriate to the listener or to the situation
Children with an auditory processing problem, in spite of having absolutely normal hearing in the usual sense (detecting faint sounds and discriminating between the more subtle sounds of speech), often cannot use sound in an efficient meaningful manner. They can have particular trouble in paying attention to and understanding speech in many of life’s situations. For example, these youngsters have considerably more difficulty than other children in listening to speech in any room or environment where the acoustics are poor. They are also at a greater than usual disadvantage when attempting to listen to a person who turns away while speaking or who drops his voice noticeably at the end of a sentence. They also have more-than-average trouble trying to listen where other noise and sometimes movement is present nearby.
This kind of difficulty means that you must learn to control your child’s environment by creating a quiet environment through any means available to you (take the child to a quiet room, shut off the TV, ask others to be quiet for a moment, etc.). If you can’t control the auditory environment immediately, then it would be best to simply delay your conversation until you can find a quiet time. It would be desirable for you and others in the family to make a point of finding such “quiet conversation periods” on a regular basis during the course of each day.
These suggestions are things your child can also learn to employ with family and friends. That is, simply learning to avoid important conversations in noisy places, moving the speaker to a quieter environment, getting the speaker on the side of his “strong” ear (this is important for seating arrangements at school, in auditorium, etc.), and standing close to the speaker.
When talking with your child, use simple language. For example, don’t use long words when short words will do. Also, use short sentences and only one idea at a time. You should also remember to pronounce your words carefully. It will be easier for everyone concerned when you have the child’s full attention, so do not try to have discussions when you are in separate rooms.
In summary, you can simplify your child’s auditory task by conducting your conversation in the same room, stand close, make sure you have the youngster’s undivided attention, use clear and simple language, and try to minimize all other noise and movement activity.