What is Receptive Language?
Receptive language refers to the comprehension of oral information. Receptive language is something most of us take for granted. Typically, when a student has a receptive language delay or a receptive language disorder, it can be severe. Receptive language difficulties are often associated with other diagnoses like autism, syndromes, and genetic disorders.
What is a Receptive Language Delay and a Receptive Language Disorder?
Knowing the difference between delays and disorders is important. A delay refers to when a student is lacking in skills and appears to have the skills of a younger child. The pattern of delay is that of a typically developing child but at an earlier stage. A disorder means that the student is lacking skills in an idiosyncratic pattern that cannot be ascribed to an immature pattern. The student might have skills in one area that are age-appropriate or even above average, but the student is lacking other skills that are age-expected.
Receptive Language Skills
Speech language pathologists work on expressive language (oral expression skills) as well. Most of the students I have worked with have expression language delays. Because of not having many of those types of case, working with students with receptive language difficulties can be tricky. Keep in mind that other speech-language pathologists specialize with students with receptive language delays or disorders. Of course there are many students that struggle with both receptive and expressive language. Here are a couple of receptive language skills we want students to have:
- Following directions
- Understanding what people say
- Identifying objects and pictures
5 Speech Therapy Tips for Receptive Language
In this video (above) I go through what I do when I am working with a student whose expressive language is incoherent — I start with receptive language skills! The video contains my discussing five tips you can apply right now in receptive language speech therapy. I would list them out, but I think it’s better for you to hear me explain them and what I do. Please watch until the end.
Receptive Language Goals
Using the information above, I think you can see where you can go with receptive language goals. Think about goals for comprehension of oral language. Those would be ideal for students lacking receptive language skills. Goals could include:
- Listening to a word and pointing to the correct picture
- Listen to the teacher when the teacher says clean up your materials
- Follow directions like grabbing a book from the classroom library when the teacher instructs the class to do that.
The first thing you can see in those examples above the focus on listening skills. The second thing is that there’s no need to reply verbally. Why? Because that would be an expressive language skill. I’ve certainly mixed both receptive and expressive language components in goals I’ve written, but if I am focusing just on receptive language, I’m going to omit any need for a verbal reply.
I hope that helps you understand receptive language!