What is a comprehension problem?
A comprehension problem is a difficulty with understanding auditory or written information (or a mixture of both). A child with a comprehension problem may not be able to understand simple instructions e.g. “sit down”; others have difficulty understanding more complex sentences and instructions.
A comprehension problem may also be termed a receptive difficulty.
Children with comprehension problems may have increased difficulty understanding words and sentences of increasing length and complexity.
It is common for children with comprehension problems to also have an expressive language difficulty i.e. difficulty in their spoken and written language.
Common characteristics seen in children with comprehension problems are:
- The child may have delayed language skills in comparison to their typically developing peers.
- A child may appear as if they are lacking interest when being spoken to.
- The child may have difficulty following instructions.
- The child appears to lack attention during a task.
Speech and language therapy can help to support a child with comprehension problems.
What causes comprehension problems in children?
There are many causes of comprehension problems. Comprehension problems usually exist as part of a disorder or syndrome. The following may cause comprehension problems in children:
- Autistic spectrum disorders
- Specific Language Impairment
- Language delay and impairment
- Learning difficulties
- Hearing impairment / hearing loss
- Traumatic brain injury
- Glue ear
- Auditory processing disorder
- Communication problems
- Unknown cause
What problems caused by comprehension problems can speech and language therapy help with?
Children with comprehension difficulties may additionally experience problems in the following areas of speech and language, these can be helped by speech and language therapy:
- speech sound problems
- expressive language problems
- attention and listening problems
- communication problems
- language delay and impairment
- social communication problems
How is a comprehension problem in children diagnosed?
The speech and language therapist will be able to identify and diagnose a child with comprehension problems. An initial assessment will be carried out by the speech and language therapist. This assessment will help determine the severity of the comprehension problem and the impact it is having on your child's communication. An initial assessment will involve:
- A conversation with you about your child's speech and language abilities and any concerns you may have.
- A case history of your child's development.
- An observation of your child's speech, language and interaction skills.
- A detailed assessment of your child's speech and language abilities e.g. asking your child to follow verbal instructions.
- A discussion regarding assessment results and whether an individualised therapy programme is needed.
How does speech and language therapy help children with comprehension problems?
The main aim of speech and language therapy will be to help support and increase your child's understanding in order to maximise their communicative potential.
Speech and language therapy will differ for each individual child with a comprehension problem depending on the severity of their difficulties. General therapy will involve helping your child to understand words, sentences and a conversational language both verbal and written forms. This may be aided by pictures, objects or gesture to support your child's understanding.
Having a comprehension problem will impact on your child's ability to understand in both the home and school environment. A comprehension problem may affect a child's ability to access learning to their full potential. Early identification and intervention from speech and language therapy will benefit a child with comprehension problems and support them in all environments.
What would speech and language therapy treatment for children with comprehension problems involve?
An initial assessment carried out by one of our speech and language therapists will help to determine what the best therapy for your child's specific needs will be. Speech and language therapy can involve:
- One to One Therapy
- Clinic Visits
- Home Visits
- Alternative and Augmentative Communication
- Advice and Education
- early intervention
You will also be given the opportunity to share any concerns you may have and also discuss what you would like us to work on in therapy with your child.
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for a child with comprehension problems?To arrange an initial speech and language therapy assessment for your child, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 0885 643.
A comprehension problem is a difficulty with understanding verbal or written language (or a mixture of both). Comprehension problems may impact on your child's ability to understand simple and more complex instructions in both the school and home environment. Speech and language therapy aims to help your child's understanding and maximise their communication to their highest potential. If you feel you and your child may benefit from speech and language therapy then do not hesitate to contact us by emailing email@example.com or calling 0330 0885 643.
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