Comprehension Problems

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What to expect

Comprehension problems

Comprehension is the ability to understand verbal, non-verbal and written communication. A comprehension problem can arise when there is a breakdown in understanding any form of communication. Comprehension problems can also be termed receptive problems.

What is a comprehension problem?

A comprehension problem is a difficulty in understanding verbal, written and non-verbal (body language and facial expressions) communication. A patient with a comprehension problem may have difficulty in understanding any of the above methods of communication or a combination of these.

Comprehension problems can occur in both children and adults and can vary from mild to severe difficulties.

Common difficulties experienced by individuals with comprehension problems can include:

  • Difficulty in understanding or following verbal or written instructions.
  • Difficulty in following a conversation.
  • Appearing as if they are not listening or paying attention.
  • Difficulty in reading and understanding written words.
  • Appearing to be lacking in attention when carrying out a task.
  • Inappropriately responding to conversations or questions.

What conditions can cause comprehension problems?

Many conditions and disorders can cause comprehension problems in children and adults, the severity of these comprehension problems will differ for each disorder and with each individual. The following disorders or conditions can contribute to a comprehension problem in children and adults:

Children

  • Hearing loss and impairments
  • Neurological problems
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Speech disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Communication problems
  • Language delay
  • Bilingualism
  • Glue ear
  • Auditory processing disorder
  • Fetal anti-convulsant syndrome
  • Sensory integration dysfunction
  • Down syndrome
  • Hyperlexia
  • Fragile X syndrome
  • Selective mutism

Adults

  • Neurological problems
  • Hearing loss and impairments
  • Speech disorders
  • Communication problems
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Learning difficulties
  • Mental health problems

How is a comprehension problem diagnosed?

Comprehension problems are identified and diagnosed by the speech and language therapist. The speech and language therapist will work with a number of professionals when diagnosing if an individual has a comprehension problem. An initial assessment will be carried out by the speech and language therapist. This assessment will identify if an individual has a comprehension problem and also the severity of the individual's difficulties. The initial assessment will also help to decide on what the best method of treatment will be for the individual.

How can speech and language therapy help with comprehension problems?

Speech and language therapy will help to treat and support individuals with comprehension problems. Individuals with comprehension problems will often respond well to speech and language therapy.

The speech and language therapist will work with the individual and also their carer and other professionals in helping to support their speech, language and communication needs. The main aim of speech and language therapy will be to maximise the individual's communication and also to increase their understanding of spoken and written words and sentences.

Each individual will have an individualised speech and language therapy treatment plan. When creating an individual's treatment plan the speech and language therapist will consider many factors including the individual's current and past communicative abilities and also the underlying cause of their comprehension problem.

What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit comprehension problems?

There are different forms of speech and language therapy which can benefit individuals with comprehension problems. The speech and language therapist will carry out and initial assessment to determine what the best option of treatment will be for the individual's specific speech, language and communication needs. Different treatment options for an individual with comprehension problems can include:

Training

Training and advice for the individual, parents / carers and other professionals involved in the individual's care will be provided by the speech and language therapist. Training may include specific communication programmes to support the individual's comprehension problems.

Find out more about training.

Consultative role

The speech and language therapist will advise the individual, their carer and other professionals involved in their care on compensatory strategies to help support and maximise their communicative abilities.

Find out more about consultative role.

Home programmes

Home programmes can include specific communication programmes which will focus on maximising the individual's comprehension and also their communication. Home programmes will be provided to the individual and their carers or parents. Speech and language therapy programmes can also be implemented in the school environment.

Find out more about therapy programmes.

One to one therapy

One to one therapy will involve the therapist and the individual (and their carer or parent). One to one therapy will work on specific areas of communication the individual is finding difficult and also areas they feel are a priority to work on in therapy. For an individual with comprehension problems, the therapist may work on increasing the individual's understanding of spoken and written words, sentences and also conversation and paragraphs.

Find out more about one to one therapy.

Group therapy

Group therapy will usually involve a group of individuals with similar communicative abilities. Group therapy can help in increasing the individual's motivation, social skills and also help to generalise the skills learnt in one to one therapy. Parent and carer groups may also be carried out to help support the parents and carers in supporting the individual's comprehension problems.

Find out more about group therapy.

Alternative and Augmentative Communication

Alternative and augmentative forms of communication may also be used for individuals with very limited and restricted understanding. Alternative forms of communication will help to support an individual's understanding and help them to communicate to the best of their ability. Alternative forms of communication may include visual aids, sign language and also computer aids.

Find out more about Alternative and Augmentative Communication.

Speech and language therapy may also include the following:

  • Assessments
  • School visits
  • Clinic visits
  • Home visits
  • Reports
  • Review
  • Early intervention

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

To arrange an initial assessment with one of our speech and language therapists then please contact us on 0330 0885 643.

Summary

A comprehension problem is a difficulty in understanding verbal, non-verbal and written forms of communication. An individual with a comprehension problem will have difficulty in communicating effectively with others. The speech and language therapist will aim to increase the individual's understanding and maximising their communicative ability. If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy, then please contact us by emailing office@slt.co.uk or calling 0330 0885 643.





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To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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