What is Receptive language delay?
According to InterMountainHealthcare, receptive language disorder is when a child has trouble understanding words and so will have a problem processing them. While they are able to read and hear words, they are not able to connect their meaning.
A simple rule of the thumb in speech therapy is that when a child does not understand what is said to them, they will not be able to express themselves. Speech language pathologist Laura Mize sums it up so well when she says that with receptive language delay, comes expressive language delay.
And so parents who have kids with receptive language delay will start running helter skelter looking for speech therapists and preschools where their children can be taught how to talk.
But it just gets frustrating. Not unless we first address the root cause which is receptive language delay. The child simply does not understand what is said to them and so will not respond.
Signs of receptive language delay
- Child does not follow directions
- Child seems not to respond when their name is called
- Child does not respond when spoken to.
Causes of receptive language delay
- Hearing loss: If your toddler has hearing impairment, then you can be sure that they are going to have a problem listening to you or paying attention. Unfortunately, most parents do not know this and will blame other things when their children have hearing problems. To weed this out, you need to see an audiologist who will test your child’s hearing ability.
- Attention disorder and Autism spectrum disorder: Children with attention disorder or autism might not respond or seem to hear the instructions you gave them. To rule autism out of the mix, you will need to have a comprehensive assessment by a developmental pediatrician. It is however important to note that receptive language delay is not autism. It could be caused by other things.
- Visual impairment: Children learn and respond to things by hearing and seeing. You could be using words and visual cues but your child has sight problems. Have a doctor look into this problem.
- Family history: Receptive language delay can be linked to family history in some cases.
Understanding this problem is very key in helping your child. If they have the problem and you insist on talking to them, they will just feel frustrated and you too will feel helpless. It is like visiting a foreign country and the hosts talk for long to you in their local language and you do not understand it. You will not respond but get confused.
If they want you to understand anything, they better use one o tow words followed by visual gestures so that you can comprehend what they mean.
So how do you deal with a kid with receptive language delay?
Most parents whose children have been diagnosed with this problem want to know whether receptive language delay can be cured. Well, it can be cured by speech therapist who understand the child’s problems. At the same time parents can cure the disorder by following these strategies.
- Use one word sentences
Rather than telling your child “ Let us go outside to play ball” which they will just hear as meaningless adult gibberish, simply tell them “Ball” or add one more word “Ball outside” so that the child can adequately understand you and therefore take action. Once the child understands these one word or two words sentences, you can from there build up to more words as their comprehension increases.
- Talk of what they are concentrated on
Do not tell them ‘Ball outside” when they are clearly concentrated on getting a cup of milk. It will just be frustrating for the two of you. Wait until an opportune time when the child is paying attention to the ball so that you can prompt them to join you for a game.
- Use words the child can use
Do not use adult words that the child will not understand. Rather than it, use simple words that are in the child’s set of vocabularies. This way, the child will indeed understand you and take action.
- Use nonverbal cues
A child with receptive language delay will most probably concentrate on other visual cues that you give them. If you want to go outside to play with a ball, it is a good idea that you hold the ball up and then proceed to say “Ball outside”. The child will surely understand this and take action.
- Repeat repeat repeat
A child who does not understand your talk might start responding when you insist on repeating what you just said. So if you need them to go to the potty, you need to repeat the word “Potty” many times so that the kid can get you.