Receptive – Expressive Language Delays/Disorders

Receptive language refers to a child’s ability to understand language. Expressive language refers to a child’s ability to use language to express what he is thinking.

A language disorder is diagnosed when a child comprehends and/or communicates using language at a level that is less developed than expected for his/her age. A language disorder is different than a language delay. With delayed language, a child develops language in the same way as other children, but later. In a language disorder, language does not develop normally. The child may have some language skills, but not others. Or, the way in which these skills develop may be different than usual.

It is important to note that whereas some children only have a receptive language disorder or an expressive language disorder; many children have a mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.

Receptive Language Disorder

A child with a receptive language disorder has difficulty understanding language that is spoken and/or written. This child finds it challenging to follow instructions at home or at school and may not respond appropriately to questions and requests. In the classroom, receptive language difficulties may make it difficult for the child to access the curriculum or participate in academic tasks required of his/her grade.

Symptoms may include:

  • Poor listening skills or comprehension
  • Difficulty responding to questions
  • Difficulty following directions (requiring clarification or repeated directions)
  • Confusion when confronted with with complex or lengthy sentences
  • Requiring additional time to process information
  • Difficulty understanding abstract language

Expressive Language Disorder

A child with an expressive language disorder has difficulty putting her/his thoughts into words. This child finds it challenging to communicate needs, wants, or thoughts at the same level or with the same complexity as his or her peers. In the classroom, expressive language difficulties make it difficult for the child to summarize a story, to retell an activity or event, or to answer a question with sufficient specificity and details.

Symptoms may include:

  • Limited vocabulary for child’s age
  • Grammar is inaccurate or below age level expectations
  • Difficulty composing sentences (spoken, written)
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts to tell a story
  • Restricted ability to describe, define, or explain information or to retell an event

lipsOur approach to Receptive-Expressive Language Disorders begins with a comprehensive speech-language evaluation.

Our team of speech-language pathologists is highly trained to assesses the child’s receptive-expressive language to determine specific areas on which targeted goals are based. Short term therapy goals and time frames for completion are prescribed for each child. Ongoing assessment of progress ensures that the child attains these goals prior to advancing to the next treatment objective. Our speech-language pathologists communicate and work together with a child’s parents and school to provide strategies and exercises to help the child develop skills for academic success, self-esteem, and social development.

The SSC Receptive-Expressive Language Hierarchy incorporates principles of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) Preferred Practice Patterns to systematically help the child advance requisite skills in the following areas:

Areas Targeted for Intervention of Children:

Increasing consonant repertoire, improving accuracy of sound production, and decreasing use of phonological processes. Enhancing phonological skills such as rhyming, blending and segmenting words.

Increasing the size of vocabulary, including verbs, pronouns, conjunctions and basic concepts. Increasing the range of semantic relationships, such as agent-action, agent-object, possessor-possession, attribute-entity and recurrence.

Morphology and Syntax:
Facilitating use of age-appropriate morphemes; especially auxiliary verbs, articles and pronouns. Increasing sentence length, complexity and varied sentence types.

Improving conversational skills, including initiating and maintaining communication, turn taking, topic maintenance and topic shifts, and making conversational repairs. Increasing flexibility of language for various contexts. Developing narrative skills.

Building emergent literacy skills, including print awareness, book awareness, understanding simple story structure, letter knowledge, and matching speech to print.

Areas Targeted for Intervention of Children:

Enhancing phonological awareness skills and eliminating any residual phonological processes.\

Improving knowledge and depth of vocabulary, including subtle differences in meaning, changes in meaning with context, abstract vocabulary, figures of speech and ambiguities. Monitoring comprehension, paraphrasing information, and requesting clarification.

Morphology and Syntax:
Increasing the use of more advanced morphology, including prefixes and suffixes, complex clauses (declarative, question and relative clauses), complex sentence structure (compound sentences and dependent clauses). Monitoring the correctness of grammar and morphological word forms and correcting errors.

Using language in various contexts to convey politeness, persuasiveness and clarification.

Increase discourse skills, including academic discourse, social interaction discourse, narrative discourse, expository discourse and use of cohesive devices in discourse.

Narrative Language focuses on improving a child’s story-telling ability, including the ability to provide context for the listener; use narrative structures to organize events; and utilize microstructure (syntactic complexity, temporal and causal conjunctions, coordinating conjunctions, elaborated phrases, and adverbs) to enhance the clarity of the narrative. Narratives can provide a naturalistic means of targeting specific language difficulties.

Literacy Intervention incorporate a variety of instructional strategies to improve word decoding , word identification, reading fluency, reading vocabulary, and reading comprehension across a variety of materials and in a number of contexts. Depending on the child’s skill level, instructional strategies might include engaging in shared book reading, teaching literacy in natural contexts, labeling objects/pictures to promote sight word reading, reading and writing about personal experiences, promoting phonological awareness, and teaching the child how to monitor comprehension while reading.

At Suburban Speech Center, our receptive-expressive language treatment approach is individualized to each child’s needs. Home carryover is an integral part of the program. Each child is provided with a speech notebook that contains age appropriate treatment objectives and interactive exercises.

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