Understanding and processing language is the ability to understand the words, sentences and meaning of what is heard or read. It also includes understanding language concepts and grammatical structures e.g. past tenses and passive sentences.
Some young people’s difficulties with understanding language may be masked as they have learnt to pick up on key words and look for clues in the environment (e.g. pictures or gestures, or waiting for others to start a task before copying).
At secondary school, it is vital for young people to be able to understand the language in the classroom so they are able to access the curriculum and learn. At secondary school, young people also have to understand longer and more complex instructions, non-literal or figurative language and sarcasm and jokes.
The ability to understand language involves:
If your child is struggling to understand language, you’ll notice that they:
There are a number of techniques you can use to help your child understand language, including:
If you’ve tried all of these techniques and you’re still not seeing any improvement after four months, please speak to a teacher or GP
Our team run online workshops on early language development. They are designed for parents and carers and those working within early years settings. We have three training sessions available on different topics to equip you with everyday strategies to support your child, aged up to five. Please visit our Speech and Language Therapy service page for more information and to register.
More than one language - A guide for parents
More than one language - A guide for teachers
More than one language - A guide for therapists