Signs of Language Difficulties in High School

signs of language difficulties high school

Signs of Receptive Language Difficulties or Higher-Level Understanding Problems in High School Students

Language difficulties in high school are often masked or interpreted as other social, emotional or adolescent behavioural problems. It can be difficult to tease out an adolescent can’t complete tasks or are choosing not to complete tasks. This can be hard to distinguish as many high school students either overtly or unintendedly avoid language based tasks as they know they are going to find it difficult to listen and understand what is expected of them. They need help to correct, develop or manage language based difficulties so that they can learn and socialise sufficiently to participate in their community.

signs of language difficulties high school

The first step to assist high school students with receptive language difficulties is by being aware of the signs of receptive language

Receptive language delays and disorders in High School Students will generally have a few of the following signs if they present with Receptive Language Difficulties in High School:

  • Problems listening
  • Problems correctly following spoken instructions
  • They talk however what they are saying contains little real substance
  • Might be OK with concrete ideas that they can see and participate in, however, abstract language and ideas are very difficult for them
  • Taking a long time to respond
  • Problems processing or thinking about the given information
  • Doesn't follow jokes, sarcasm, metaphors.
  • Takes ambiguous language seriously
  • Can't follow conversation particularly in groups
  • Doesn't pick up non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions or gestures - doesn't know when people want to end a conversation or doesn't recognise the emotional content of people's talk.
You may also find:
  • Problems with school work
  • Can't complete homework
  • Participation in class discussion is badly handled or non-existent
  • Has trouble gaining information from class teachers and from books
  • Finds it hard to understand inferences
  • Following the rules of the classroom is inconsistent or does not understand them or the need to follow them
  • Poor at tests
  • Has trouble with the school routines - can't remember the timetable, loses the rooms, can't use a diary well.
  • Poor at working independently
  • Concentration and attention appear poor Behavioural Problems
  • Poor self-esteem
Or you may see:
  • Problems making and maintaining friendships
  • Lost motivation, cumulative sense of failure
  • Depression, anger, frustration, withdrawal, aggression
  • Reluctance to participate, including in remedial work
  • Inappropriate coping mechanisms, e.g. bullying, clowning, copying (cheating), delinquency and truancy

See Expressive language difficulties in High School students for further expressive language signs of Language difficulties.

​If you feel a high school student you know or work with may be presenting with some of these concerns, contact a speech pathologist, talk to a teacher or a special education guidance officer.

SpeechNet Speech Pathologist have experience working in high schools. We get that they are adolescents and all what this means. Our approach and supports will assist the with the underlying language difficulties.

It is never too late to seek help for a high school student struggling at school.

Contact Us Today - We're Here To Help!​

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