Receptive Language

Does Your Child Struggle to Understand Words and Language?

Receptive language refers to your child’s ability to comprehend and process information through words and language. If your child has difficulties with understanding language and words, they may find it hard to follow instructions at home or within an educational setting.

A Growing Understanding works with children to build receptive language skills and help them communicate appropriately with peers and adults, understand questions, and respond appropriately.

Our individualised therapy programs include ongoing parent support and education, and are specifically designed to:

  • Tap into your child’s interests, skills, and challenges to develop appropriate goals and help them grow their confidence.
  • Use play and fun activities to build your child’s understanding of language concepts and how to engage in conversations and respond to questions appropriately.
  • Utilise visuals to help your child comprehend and recall instructions.
  • Implement First/Then strategy to help your child understand the order of their actions in response to a request e.g. “First put on your shoes, then get your jacket”.
  • Support parents and provide at-home and in-school activities to help your child attend and process instructions.
  • Celebrate your child’s success and encourage participation and verbal responses.

Receptive language refers to your child’s ability to understand words and language. It involves gaining information and meaning from their environment, interpreting visual cues, sounds and words, concepts such as size, shape, colour and time, grammar, and written information.

There are also important “building blocks” required to develop receptive language skills, including attention and concentration, pre-language skills (non-verbal communication including gestures, facial expressions, imitation, joint attention and eye contact), social skills and play skills.

Some children who have difficulty understanding oral language (words and talking) may appear to ‘understand’ because they are able to pick up key words and get visual information from the environment or from gestures.

When your child’s receptive language is developing slower than what is expected for their age, they are said to have a receptive language delay.

Receptive language is an essential part of successful communication. Your child may have difficulty following instructions at home or within their educational setting and may not respond appropriately to questions and requests.

Within the preschool or school setting, receptive language challenges may lead to attention and listening difficulties, as your child may find it difficult to understand the task. Your child may also have difficulty participating in class or completing their schoolwork without assistance.

In addition to the above, your child may have difficulty expressing themselves accurately at home or school, and find it challenging to participate in age appropriate conversations with their friends. This can lead to self-esteem and confidence issues when the child realises their skills do not match their peers.

We work with families to develop specific, meaningful, and functional goals and strategies to help develop your child’s receptive language skills. These goals and strategies align with your child’s interest and incorporate home-based activities where you can work on these skills during daily activities like mealtime, bath time and story time.

As your child develops their receptive language skills, we work with families to help you utilise alternative methods of communication. This could include the use of visuals (pictures/symbols), signs and gestures.

Where appropriate, we also work closely with your child’s teacher or educators and provided them with information and ideas that can be used in the educational setting and help your child participate and access the curriculum.

What to Look Out for with Receptive Language:

  • Does your child have difficulty with attending and listening to language?
  • Does your child struggle to pay attention during group time at school or preschool?
  • Does your child have trouble following instructions that other children the same age would be able to follow?
  • Does your child respond to questions by repeating what you asked, or by giving unusual answers?
  • Does your child find it difficult to listen to stories?

Remember, every child develops at their own pace, but if you are concerned, talk to us today. Our friendly team of experienced speech pathologists are here to guide you through your concern and help you take the best next step.