The Language Processing Hierarchy is a way of organizing fundamental language skills, based on the book, ‘The Source for Processing Disorders’ by Gail J. Richard, Ph.D., CCC-SLP.  Her work is more complex than I can describe here, so I’ll just try to summarize the basic idea of the Language Hierarchy Chart.

The idea is that children learn to sort language concepts into categories in their brain, starting with simple relationships to more complex ones.  If your child is given a language processing test as part of his evaluation, he will likely be tested on these same things.

  1. LABELING – Can the child name the object?
    • It’s a shoe.


  1. FUNCTIONS – Can the child tell what the object does?
    • You wear it on your foot.


  1. ASSOCIATIONS – Can the child tell what things go with that object?
    • Socks and feet go with a shoe.


  1. CATEGORIZING – Can the child tell what objects are in a certain category?
    • A shoe is in the clothes group or the footwear group.

At this level, they also include the following:


    • The opposite of hot is cold. Another word for happy is glad.
    • This is above, this is below, this is beside, left, right, etc.


  1. SIMILARITIES – How are two objects alike as far as purpose, category or function?
    • A fridge is like a stove because they are both appliances in your kitchen that you use for your food.


  1. DIFFERENCES – How are two objects different as far as purpose, category or function?
    • A fridge keeps your food cold and a stove heats up your food.


  1. MULTIPLE MEANINGS – What are two meanings for this word?
    • Trunk can be the long nose of an elephant or the bottom part of a tree.


  1. IDIOMS – What does this figure of speech really mean?
    • It’s raining cats and dogs means that it’s raining really hard.


  1. ANALOGIES – Comparing something to another thing using the word ‘like’ or ‘as’.
    1. Life is like a box of chocolates means that you never know what’s going to happen in life just like when you pick a chocolate from a box. You never know what kind you’re going to get.

These are all great things to work on with your child!  For more tips on how to improve basic language skills, especially in young children, please watch my video ‘Parents Can Help With Their Child’s Speech-Language Treatment’.

Thanks for watching and have a great day!