What is Receptive Language Disorder?
Receptive language is a cornerstone for communication. Children rely on receptive language skills to participate in everyday activities, such as: following instructions in class, learning new games in the playground, and understanding stories. Receptive Language Disorder is when a person has difficulty with processing and understanding language. As we must understand how language works before we can use it, children with Receptive Language Disorder are likely to have trouble with their expressive language.
How is Receptive Language Disorder assessed?
Your Speech Pathologist will conduct a:
• Detailed case history: They may ask you about your child's family, medical and birth history.
• Literacy assessment: including spelling, reading, writing and comprehension of written texts.
• A standardised test: When a test is standardised it means that all tests are executed in the same way, enabling the individual’s results to be compared to others of the same age. This provides us with a standardised measure of a child’s performance. There are a variety of standardised tests to choose from, however, at Speakable we use the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF) to assess those from ages 5 to 21 years of age. The CELF allows insight into many areas of language: morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and phonological awareness. It can take up to an hour to administer. In terms of receptive language, the CELF allows us insight into their ability to:
o Understand and follow directions
o Comprehend spoken paragraphs
o Understand concepts
o Structure sentences
The CELF has different versions, tailored to the child's age. For example, for preschoolers Speakable uses the CELF-2. The CELF-2 is designed to measure the child's language skills, and how prepared they are to enter the classroom. The CELF-2 takes up to 45 minutes to administer, and consists of:o A variety of subtests
o Pre-literacy tests (such as Phonological Awareness)
What are the norms for receptive language?
Here is a brief overview of what is considered typical developmental norms:1-2 years
o Identifies 3 body parts
o Follows simple or repetitive routines
o Able to follow 1-2 part instructions in order
o Can choose 5 familiar objects upon request
o Answers questions like: "What did you see?", "Find one like this", "What is this?", and "What did you hear/touch?"
o Follows instructions with two pieces of information (when there is more than one choice)
o Understands concepts such as: on/off, big/little, hot/cold, under, and out of.
o Follows 3 stage instructions
o Answers questions like, "What is happening?", "Finish this ..." and who, what, where questions.
o Understands concepts such as: hard/soft, tall/short, rough/smooth, empty/full, clean/dirty, wet/dry, open/shut, in front/behind, and next to.
o Answers questions like, "What will happen next?", "What could he say?", "Tell this story", "How are these not the same?" and "Tell me how."
o Understands concepts such as: more/less, fast/slow, between/above, below/top, bottom, beside, heavy/light, loud/soft, long/short, fat/thin, high/low.
What can I do?
Speak to your Speech Pathologist for further information. Other things you can do include:• Check for understanding.
• Repeat yourself: if your child does not understand, especially when giving instructions.
• Describe: For example, when getting ready in the morning you could say “I am putting the butter on the toast,” or, “I’m putting the shoes under the table.” It can be helpful to emphasise a word in a sentence, and repeat the example many times.
• Get training on Indirect Language Stimulation: If your child is below the age of 3, you can use Indirect Language Stimulation (ILS) to help develop their receptive language skills. This gives the child the opportunity to learn about how language works. An example of ILS is the Hanen Program.