Difficulties in Understanding (Receptive Language Difficulties)

Difficulties in understanding (receptive language difficulties)

What are these difficulties characterised by?

Receptive language refers to a child’s ability to understand and gain meaning from spoken or written language. Receptive language is often also referred to as “comprehension skills” or “understanding skills”.

Children with receptive language difficulties will struggle to understand and gain meaning from things that they hear or read. This could result in the child:

  • Having trouble following instructions
  • Developing language slowly
  • Often misunderstanding what was asked or said to them
  • Being able to hear or read words, but have difficulty understanding their meaning
  • Appearing uninterested when others are talking
  • Not understanding what they have been taught in the classroom

How does this impact the child?

Children with receptive language difficulties may find it hard to follow instructions, particularly complex, longer instructions that contain more information. This could result in the child being incorrectly labeled as ‘being naughty’.

Normally, children are able to understand words and the meaning behind them before they can produce the words themselves. A child with receptive language difficulties may develop their spoken language more slowly as a result of their comprehension difficulties.

Children with receptive language difficulties may often seem uninterested in what others are saying or appear disengaged due to not understanding what is being said to them. It may be easier to withdraw if what they are hearing has no meaning to them or they don’t know how to respond. This can impact a child’s ability to interact with others.

They may also have a difficult time answering other people’s questions, whether it’s in a classroom setting or a social conversation. The child may have only understood a couple of individual keywords while struggling to connect words and ideas to understand the overall question.

Because receptive language includes written language, children with receptive language difficulties may also have difficulties with their reading comprehension and understanding stories.

Receptive language difficulties can impact a child’s ability to engage in classroom activities, safely follow directions, and participate in social conversations.

How can ChatterBug support your child?

Your therapist at ChatterBug will complete a comprehensive assessment to identify your child’s specific areas of difficulties. An assessment of your child’s receptive language skills can vary from assessing their ability to understand single words to assessing their ability to understand full sentences or short stories.

A receptive language assessment may also look at your child’s ability to understand a variety of different concepts, ranging from concrete (things they can see) to more abstract language.

Once the assessment is complete, your child’s therapist will put together an individualised treatment plan based on the results of the assessment.

We can offer direct 1:1 therapy or group sessions with a Speech and Language Therapist (SLT) or Communication and Language Specialist (CALS), provide a therapy programme for school staff and parents to implement and/or advise and support school on staff with a range of strategies they can use to support their child on a daily basis.

At Chatterbug we incorporate a range of evidence based approaches to support the language development of children. We also provide training and modelling of interventions and approaches for parents/school staff. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy. This approach allows us to work together with parents in order to support them in developing their child’s language skills through play. We will model the most appropriate strategies that we feel will benefit the child.
  • Evidence based Narrative and Vocabulary programmes which we can train staff to deliver or deliver ourselves on an individual or group basis.
  • Language for Thinking and Language for Behaviour and Emotions to develop their understanding of more abstract language, the language related to behaviour and emotions.
  • Comprehension monitoring to help a child recognise when they have not understood something and ask for help.
  • Using appropriate visuals to support a child’s understanding of language.

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