I regularly come across terms in school meetings and reports that make me think, “How are the parents supposed to know what that really is and how to help their child with it?” I decided to find and list explanations of some of the most common ones, because I think it is important to understand what you are dealing with in order to be able to deal effectively with it.
- Processing Speed
Processing Speed is essentially the time it takes a person to do a mental task. It is related to the speed in which a person can understand and react to the information they receive. Processing speed is one of the main elements of cognitive processing and impacts most areas of functioning, including socioemotional well-being, learning, academic performance,
intellectual development, reasoning, and experience.
Slow processing speed means that some determined tasks will be more difficult than others, like reading, doing maths, listening and taking notes, or holding conversations. It may also interfere with executive functions, as a person with slow processing speed will have a harder time planning, setting goals, making decisions, starting tasks, paying attention, etc.
- Auditory Processing
Auditory Processing is “the ability to identify and distinguish between different sounds.” It refers to the brain’s ability to organise and make sense of language sounds. Children with auditory processing difficulties might have trouble understanding and developing language skills because their brains either misinterpret language sounds, or process them too slowly. Often, these children cannot differentiate between similar sounds, or they are unable to recognise language in certain situations.
- Receptive Language
Receptive language describes the comprehension of language. Comprehension involves attention, listening, and processing the message to gain information. Areas of receptive language skills include attention, receptive vocabulary, following directions, understanding questions, etc.
- Expressive Language
Expressive language is a broad term that describes how a person communicates their wants, needs, thoughts, ideas, etc. with those around them. It encompasses verbal and nonverbal communication skills and how an individual uses language. Expressive language skills include facial expressions, gestures, intentionality, vocabulary, semantics (word/sentence meaning), morphology, syntax (grammar rules), etc. Think of receptive language as your ability to respond to the instruction, “Find an apple” by pointing to it and expressive language as your ability to point to an apple and say, “There’s an apple”.
If you are struggling to understand terminology used in school meetings and reports, please chat to your Catch Up Kids supervisor for an explanation and a way forward!