Receptive & Expressive Language Difficulties

“Receptive” language refers to a child’s awareness and understanding of sounds and language symbols including vocabulary words, concepts, questions, directions, sentence structures, facial expressions, and gestures. “Expressive” language refers to using facial expressions, gestures, sounds, words and word combinations to communicate.

Language disorders may become apparent as a child doesn’t meet certain communication milestones. Almost one of every 20 children has symptoms of a language disorder. When the cause is not known, it is called a developmental language disorder.

Symptoms of receptive language disorder include having a hard time understanding what people say, difficulty following spoken directions, and problems organizing thoughts.

Some symptoms of expressive language disorders are trouble putting words into sentences, problems finding the right words when speaking (using “um” or “uh” instead), a vocabulary smaller than children the same age, omitting words when talking, repeating phrases or parts of questions, and mixing tenses.

Testing should be done to rule out physical causes. Counseling will also alleviate emotional issues.

Then therapies will be developed with a speech and language pathologist and possibly a neurologist or child developmental specialist.


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