Comprehension of language (receptive language) refers to the ability to understand a spoken or written message. This includes comprehension of words, sentences and longer information such as passages and short stories. It also includes following directions and instructions.
Understanding forms a foundation of learning. Difficulty with comprehension often exists with children of average or above average intelligence. If you have any concerns with your child’s understanding, it is best to address this early as language underlies all learning.
At North Shore Speech Therapy we will assess your child’s understanding of language and give you individual and specific strategies on how best to support your child’s receptive language development. If therapy is needed we can then devise goals and model fun activities to you that can be used at home to improve your child’s comprehension of language. Parents often comment on how simple the strategies are to implement into everyday life and what wonderful outcomes they have for not only their child but the whole family.
The table below outlines typical receptive language development in 0 – 5 year olds.
Signs of Receptive Language Difficulties
• Difficulty following instructions
• Confuses basic concepts (short/long, first/last, full/empty, big/small)
• Poor concentration and/or attention
• Copies others when given a verbal instruction
• Difficulty answering questions or responding to comments
Simple Strategies for Receptive Language
• Make sure you have your toddler’s attention before giving instructions or asking questions
• If a toddler is not understanding your message, introduce gesture, facial expression and/or pointing in addition to speech to help convey the meaning of new vocabulary
• Repeat & rephrase so that any new concepts/vocabulary are reinforced
• Play games that allow a child many repetitions of a new concept. For example, Play dough – making sausages/snakes of different lengths to demonstrate long vs short; line-up and show who is first/at the front and who is last/at the back etc.