Receptive Language

What is receptive language?

Receptive language is the ability to understand language such as gaining information and meaning, understanding visual information, sounds and words, basic concepts, grammar, and written information.

Why is a child's receptive language important?

Receptive language skills are imperative for a child to communicate successfully. Children with receptive language difficulties may have difficulty following instructions at home or school and/or they may be unable to respond appropriately to questions and requests. These difficulties may lead to struggles with attention, listening, and behaviors. Academically, good understanding of language is a requirement, therefore if your child exhibits with a receptive language delay this may yield additional difficulty with academic tasks and activities.  

How can I tell if my child is struggling with receptive language skills?

The acquisition of receptive language skills is most often associated with a child's age. To understand where your child should be receptively, compare them to age-matched peers or check the list of skills typically acquired for children his or her age on this chart here.

Some examples of receptive language difficulties in children include:

  • Difficulty attending and listening to language
  • Lack of attention within group times at school
  • Inability to follow the same directions as age-matched peers
  • Inability to respond to questions, instead the child repeats the question
  • Difficulty listening to stories
  • Giving unusual answers to questions

What does treatment look like for an expressive language delay?

Treatment for a child exhibiting receptive-language delay can be very diverse. We strive to provide individualized treatment to best meet the needs of the child. This can range from play-based treatment to more structured instruction. Please do not hesitate to ask your treating therapist the treatment plan and the treatment methods utilized.

What can I do at home?

  • Play with your child! Young children learn best through play. Therefore, engage your child in play on a regular basis and model how to appropriately play with various toys. Be sure to talk about what you are doing with the toys.
  • Talk to the child often throughout the day-about where you are going, what you're are doing, etc.
  • Expand your child's language. Repeat what your child's is saying and add one or two words to it. For example, if your child points and says, "car," you can say, "a red car."
  • Engage your child in joint-book reading often. Talk to your child about the pictures and the story. Ask your child questions about the pictures and the story line.
  • Explain new concepts in different ways, such as hot/cold, big/small, etc.
  • Engage your child in games that require intense listening skills such as, "Simon Says"
  • Your therapist will provide more suggestions on how to promote receptive language in the home environment during treatment.

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