Thinking About Thinking: Developing Metalinguistic Awareness in Language Disorders

by | Jan 10, 2024

In this post, we will explore activities designed to enhance language processing skills through heightened awareness of linguistic structures among children with communication disorders. Metalinguistic awareness, the ability to think about and reflect on language, plays a crucial role in language development. However, it can be challenging for children with communication disorders.


Navigating the complexities of language can be particularly challenging for children with communication disorders. This post aims to shed light on metalinguistic awareness—an essential yet often overlooked aspect of language learning that enables children to think about and analyse language as a system.

Understanding Metacognition:

Metalinguistic awareness is a metacognitive skill that involves thinking about and reflecting on the structure and function of language. For children with communication disorders, strengthening this awareness is key to developing robust language processing skills and enhancing their overall ability to communicate.

Strategies for Fostering Metacognition:

A range of targeted activities can foster metalinguistic awareness. Phonological, morphological, syntactic, and pragmatic activities are designed to align with the children’s developmental needs, providing them with the tools to deconstruct and reconstruct language in a way that improves understanding and communication.

Pull-out Quote:

“By engaging in metalinguistic activities, children with communication disorders can gain a deeper understanding of language, transforming their communicative experiences.”

Metacognitive Skills in Practice:

Detailed examples of these activities, from rhyming games to sentence diagramming exercises, showcase practical approaches to enhancing language awareness. These strategies not only educate but also engage children, making language learning an interactive and enjoyable process.

Involving Learners in Metacognitive Processes:

The implementation of these activities within therapy sessions or classroom settings should be tailored to each child’s unique needs. Emphasising the importance of customisation, repetition, and reinforcement, this approach underlines the commitment to nurturing long-term linguistic development.


In fostering metalinguistic awareness, educators and therapists can significantly impact the communicative growth of children with communication disorders. By integrating thoughtfully designed metalinguistic activities, we can provide a scaffold for these children to climb towards greater language proficiency and confidence in their communicative interactions.

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