What is a Receptive Language Disorder?

What is a Receptive Language Disorder?

A speech disorder refers to the difficulty or inability to properly produce specific speech sounds, and a language disorder refers to challenges related to communicating with speech, written words, gestures, and expressions. There are two main types of language disorders: expressive and receptive. An expressive language disorder involves difficulty expressing one’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings through language. A receptive language disorder involves difficulties understanding others when being spoken to, or effectively “receiving” the information in their communications with others. 

Understanding and executing the use of language properly are fundamental pieces of communication as a whole. Communicating effectively is not possible without the ability to understand and produce language. A receptive language disorder means that understanding what is being communicated to you is very difficult. The symptoms of a receptive language disorder can vary widely, but in a general sense challenges with the comprehension of language typically arise in early childhood, in most cases before the age of 4. 

Children usually understand spoken language well before they are actually able to communicate using language themselves. In most cases, children first learn the meanings of nouns that are relevant to their daily lives, such as “mama, ball, pacifier, dog” etc. Most young children can point to these objects when asked, demonstrating their understanding of the word. These children can also follow simple instructions such as “wave goodbye!” or “clap your hands!” before they are able to say these words themselves. 

As young children grow and learn, some of the most common language disorders that may develop include difficulties related to acquiring vocabulary words, reading comprehension, and comprehending concepts such as figurative language and inferences. Parents and caregivers usually become aware of these challenges when they observe their children having difficulty following and understanding a story, following directions, answering questions, or struggling socially and academically. If you are concerned about the development of your child’s communication skills, don’t wait for them to fall behind. Get started with speech therapy by scheduling your free introductory call today! 

Is Receptive Language Disorder a Learning Disability?

When a receptive language disorder is a primary disability, meaning it is not accompanied by an additional intellectual disability, motor dysfunction, global developmental delay, hearing impairment, or other mental disorder or medical condition, the language disorder is considered to be a specific language impairment (also referred to as an SLI). By definition, a language disorder related to spoken or written language is classified as a learning disorder.

A receptive language disorder can also be present alongside other conditions, such as:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD),
  • Intellectual Disabilities (ID),
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Hearing Loss or Impairment
  • Developmental Disabilities (DD),
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD),
  • Emotional / Psychological Disorders

What Causes Receptive Language Disorder?

The underlying cause of a receptive language disorder is not always easily identified and is often recorded as unknown. Most experts in this field agree that the cause of a receptive language disorder typically consists of several factors working in combination, for instance:

  • Genetic Predisposition (a family history of receptive language disorders)
  • Limited Exposure and Experience with Hearing and Listening to Language in their Everyday Environment
  • Developmental and Cognitive Abilities in General

Receptive language disorders are often connected to developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or Down’s Syndrome. However, for other children, difficulties related to language are the only developmental challenges they experience. Receptive language disorders can also be the result of brain damage caused by a traumatic brain injury, or the presence of a tumor or disease. 

What Does Receptive Language Delay Mean?

The difference between a Receptive Language Delay and a Receptive Language Disorder is quite straightforward. In the case of a language delay, this simply means that the acquisition of these skills is delayed, and the individual in question is not meeting the developmental milestones in this area. They may simply need more support and help as they work on mastering these skills, and with the correct therapies in place, in most cases, they will catch up with their peers over time.

A receptive language disorder means that there are significant challenges related to acquiring these skills, and these challenges will persist throughout childhood and into adulthood without the appropriate resources and support. Whether your child is struggling with a language delay or a language disorder, help is available. Getting started with one of our incredible speech therapists is as simple as scheduling your free introductory call today! 

Can Receptive Language Disorder Be Cured?

If your child is showing signs of a receptive language disorder, don’t panic. Experienced and knowledgeable speech and language pathologists can make a tremendous impact on your child’s communication skills and can help them to overcome their language challenges.

While there isn’t a perfect age to seek help from a speech therapist for your child, the sooner you get started, the better the outcome. If you’re concerned about your child’s language development, talk to your doctor about a referral for a speech therapist, or connect with one through our incredible online speech therapy platform. Receiving a formal diagnosis of a language disorder for your child allows them access to the best resources and support available so that they can move forward and be successful in all areas of their life.  

How is Receptive Language Disorder Treated?

Whether there is an underlying medical cause of the language disorder or not, research has shown that treatment provided by speech-language pathologists is profoundly beneficial, especially in children. The goal of speech therapy for language development is to stimulate overall brain development and for the speech therapist to teach and demonstrate appropriate language skills in an age-appropriate and fun way, with the goal of enhancing everyday communication skills. The good news is that studies have shown that speech therapy improves communication skills and leads to academic and social success, increased confidence, and overall enhanced quality of life.

Treating a receptive language disorder is especially well-suited to our online speech therapy model. At Great Speech, each of our therapists is specially trained to identify challenges and diagnose each individual. From there, they will work to design and implement a completely customized treatment program with the primary goal of increasing communication and reaching the individual’s goals. Bringing speech therapy online makes helping your child’s language development easier, more fun, and more convenient than ever. Get started with Great Speech by scheduling your free introductory call today!