Language Learning Challenges

We would look into the types of language processes that are a challenge and then figure out how you learn best and then do more of that. So much of what speech therapy is about relates to the brain and how to humans take on new learning.

Language Learning Disability

Remember....LD (learning disability) has NOTHING to do with intelligence. The definition of LD is "normal intelligence, but challenges with learning". There can be challenges visually (dyslexia) or auditorily (central auditory processing), or with attention and memory. We all have strengths & challenges and learning our own preferences is the key to my therapy.

This can mean a whole host of things. I use a model of thinking in the shape of a triangle on the bottom of the triangle is needed before anything above it is possible. So at the 'top' of the triangle put any task (yep, including 'picking your nose', learning about astrophysicis, memorizing the ABC's). At the bottom and subsequent "rungs" upward place:
1. alertness/arousal (if you aren't awake, the task won't get done),
2. attention (depending on who you read/choose to ally this includes: sustained attention (staying tuned to a sermon/lecture), alternating attention (attending to changes such as math computations of add/subtract/multiply/divide all mixed up), dual attention (like in driving a car & listening to the radio), remote memory (a 'timed' element such as while washing the dishes remember to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer in 15 minutes). If you can't use the right type of attentional skills for the particular task, then the task will fail for this reason. 3.The next rung is "Problem Solving" which the simplest is comparing how two items are similar/different. If you can't detect a problem, then you can't correct it.
4. The next rung is Memory which has several different types of components depending on whose research you are aligned including: recall (you use recall and not specific memory when performing a multiple choice test), did the information ever get into memory to 'retrieve' it back from long term memory. working memory, immediate/recent memory.

Executive Function vs ADHD

This is a very interesting area that affects our daily lives and not much has been shared with folks. Type 'executive function' into your search box and read up on wikipedia and other websites. Just suffice to say, it is what helps us start something, keep doing something, and stop something.

I feel as the human race 'evolves' and more and more chemicals are in our environment, our chemical makeup is changing and the subtle areas of attentional abilities is one of those areas that we are noticing more and more changes.

Take a look at our attention and memory web page.


The Out of Sync Child, by Carol Stock Kranowitz (go to her website, too).  She has two other books, but it is best to start with this one to learn her vocabulary and types of sensory integration challenges. It's a good place to start to understand Sensory Integration and read BEFORE you meet an Occupational Therapist for an evaluation.

Healing ADD: The Breakthrough Program that allows you to see and heal the 6 types of ADD, by Daniel G. Amen, MD  (go to his website(s), too). It has a great questionnaire for you to use and gain insights before heading to a physician and perhaps starting out on a medication that perhaps isn't quite focused on your needs and then you end up having to trial more, which isn't bad, but, food for thought.

Russell Barkley ( has several books regarding ADHD and defiant behaviors.  His website and seminars are highly informational.  He is on the team to rewrite the definition of ADHD and feels we should be using the term, ‘Executive Dysfunction Disorder’.

A Mind at a Time: America's top learning expert shows how every child can succeed, by Mel Levine, MD 

7 Kinds of Intelligences, by Howard Gardner (he has a website, too)

Go to your library and interlibrary loan these and then decide if you would like to purchase them. has numerous books available.

Auditory Strategies for learning

Auditory task has you listening and coming up with funny/emotional stories/scenarios to remember things.  You can pretend you are the teacher/preacher and talk it out loud.

You can make up a song or a cheerleading cheer with the information.

Break down the information and talk out loud while someone else plays 'secretary' and writes/types your thoughts.  Use "who, what, where, why, how" categories to jot down the details for a story line and then look at each item and write a sentence/paragraph.

Visual Strategies for learning

Visual task has you drawing pictures, writing keywords, or designing graphs or charts.

Using colored pencils to highlight items that are related helps you visualize correlations.

Draw a picture of the story plot details while you are listening to someone read the story to increase your recall.   Then retell the story using the picture.

Kinesthetic Strategies for learning Kinesthetic task has you 'doing' and creating an event and an emotion to recall the information.  Use all types of craft mediums (make things out of sticks, rock formations, paints, fabrics) to manipulate and create.  Pacing or bouncing on a Pilate's ball while you sing or rhyme the information may help some folk.
Websites: is also a good resource.  It’s best to start under the tab, ‘Disorders’, and learn more about ‘executive dysfunction disorder’ which most of us view as ADHD.  I like this website because schooolteachers can relate to the name and feel it is part of their Scope of Practice as well as mine. has some great resource under his heading "Fact Sheets" has a plethora of books and information including Adult ADD & ADHD Effect on Marriage. So, it's not just for kids, you know.

A person needs legible handwriting to communicate in "written expression". Here's a link to look at pencil grasps

Dyslexia & Central Auditory Processing Dyslexia is "learning disability through the eyes" and Central Auditory Processing is "learning disability through the ears" or CAPD. Both very interesting challenges that we can address through evaluations and therapy. Jeanneane Ferre, PhD is the audiologist I highly highly highly recommend. Yes, she was my acoustics professor in graduate school, but she has published articles, books, and therapy materials on the topic. We are blessed to have her in the Chicagoland area.
How can I help? Well, we can look at learning strategies and get one to understand their strengths and challenges and show them how to take information presented to them in one modality and change modalities for them to learn the information more efficiently.


Don't feel like you are alone!

We can find ways for you to help yourself help yourself.