Language-Based Learning Disability: Games to Improve Language Skills

A child who is diagnosed with a language-based learning disability can face a variety of challenges, especially in school. There are countless types of therapies used and directions taken by SLPs, in special education classrooms, and by teachers who adjust curriculum to meet these children’s needs. Help keep some of the fun in therapy and learning new skills by trying some of these games and activities.

What Is a Language-Based Learning Disability?

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association defines a language-based learning disability (LBLD) as :

“…problem[s] with age-appropriate reading, spelling, and or writing…This disorder is not about how smart a person is. Most people diagnosed with learning disabilities have average to superior intelligence.”

While perhaps the most common form of LBLD is dyslexia, there are many other types of challenges that children face for reading comprehension, receptive language skills, spelling difficulties, and more.

Language-Based Learning Disability – Spelling Games

Scrabble Junior – Kids who are challenged with spelling can benefit from this visual-based version of the classic. There are two sides to the game board for different levels of play, and there are pictures that help give visual clues about the words being spelled.

Games for Language-based Learning Disability

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Clothespin Spelling – Invest in 100+ clothespins (the kind that have a spring release) and on each one write a letter of the alphabet, using a permanent marker. Make several copies of the most commonly used letters and use different colors of markers to represent consonants and vowels. When your child practices spelling words have him clip the clothespin to a yardstick or ruler instead of writing out the word or trying to spell completely orally. The tactile activity helps the brain to create a memory of the word.

All About Spelling – This is a comprehensive spelling curriculum that involves a multi-sensory approach to teaching spelling skills. It can be used for kids of all abilities, but those who struggle with the nuances of spelling can sometimes benefit the most.

Language-Based Learning Disability – Writing and Reading Activities

For The Record – This activity works great for things like short answer or story assignments. Give your child a pocket recorder (like what might be used by a reporter on the scene), or download an app like this one that records voice. Have him record his voice with his answers or his story, encouraging him to use complete sentences and speak very slowly. For kids with very pronounced writing disabilities you can transcribe for them so they can see their ideas on paper, or your child might be able to then translate for him or herself. The benefit of this activity is that a child who has a language disability can break down the writing process into smaller steps (formulating the ideas is separate from writing the ideas).

Games for Language-Based Learning Disability

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5 Finger Paragraphs – It is less overwhelming to be able to imagine a paragraph “fitting” into the palm of the hand. Teach kids to use the 5 finger rule for paragraphs. 1. Main sentence, 3 supporting ideas, concluding sentence.

Talking Word Processors – When your child types, these apps and programs can read the words, phrases, or sentences as auditory feedback. Some programs like this one from Knowledge Adventure also allow kids to add graphics and sounds.

StoryBuilder – This app is designed for older children who struggle with reading and writing skills. It includes 50 different story lines and 500 questions that are designed to help the child navigate the writing process.

Reading, writing, and spelling skills can be the foundation for a strong education. These games and activities can help children who struggle with these skills to build the strongest foundation possible. What are some of your go-to games or activities for kids with language-based learning disabilities?

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One comment

  1. Evelyn Richards says:

    This is a great list of games. My daughter struggles with language skills and I have been using scrabble junior and an online game called “My ABCs” on . I have been looking for apps though and this has been helpful towards that. Can’t wait to try them out with Kaylee! Thank you for this.

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