What is receptive language?


Receptive language is your little one’s understanding of language.  When she hears you speak….does she actually understand what you are saying.  Many parents will say to me…when I present their little one with a task such as: Give me the ball.   Parents will sometimes say: Oh…she know that…she can understand that….she knows what a ball is.  Now your little one may know what a ball is…but does she understand the language: Give me the ball.  She may hear you…she may know what a ball is…how to play with it…but does she understand the words: Give me the ball. 

So receptive language is your little one’s understanding of language.  When I do an initial CORE evaluation…my language test: The Preschool Language Scale-5 (PLS-5) evaluates a child’s expressive language (the words she has) as well as her receptive language (her understanding of language).  Parents sometimes do not realize how important it is for their little one to understand language…to understand the words that they hear…to understand what the words actually mean.  If your little one does not have this foundation…just like the foundation when building a house…how will she then use words and express herself?  So receptive language is very important with regard to overall speech and language development.

How can we help a little one to understand language better.  I like to start off simple….and let’s use the two pictures above….so for your little one…show her two pictures…of two familiar people of course.  Show her both pictures and say: Where’s Katie?  or Show me Katie. or Point to Katie.  She may not understand the language just yet…so hand over hand as you are showing her the pictures and making your verbal request..take her finger and help her to: point to Katie.  After you have practiced this with her on numerous occasions….ask her again…and this time do not help her…see if she is able to point to the picture all on her own.

This is a very simple activity…something you can do to help your little one to understand language better.  Starting off simple with two pictures…and asking her to point to…will help her to expand on her ability to follow a one step directive and then a more complex directive.

Have fun!


About Kim

My name is Kim Marino and I have been practicing as a licensed speech and language pathologist since 1993. I work on Long Island providing diagnostic evaluations and services to children from birth to age 21. My experience is vast and am proud to say that I work with children that may present with articulation and phonological concerns, oral motor feeding concerns, Down Syndrome feeding, cognitive rehabilitation, auditory processing delays, receptive language delays, cleft palate feeding and sound development and expressive language delays. Most importantly, I am the mother of four amazing children and am happily married to my childhood sweetheart. I feel blessed to have my four children and so lucky to share this journey in life with my husband. I always had it somewhere in my head that I wanted to develop a blog or a website of some sort so that I could provide families with an additional resource....so that parents could help their little ones become a better communicator. And as I was developing this blog....I realized that I also needed to share the stories about my life and my children....and the funny things along the way that help to keep me smiling. Whether you are a working mother or not...finding balance between home, children and life can be a challenge....I hope that my blog helps to bring a smile to your face..and also some tools to help you help your little or big one. I hope you enjoy! Kim
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