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.