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5 Signs of a Receptive Language Disorder

You’ve been looking forward to a time when you and your bundle of joy can have more detailed communications, but that time has come, and you’re worried that there’s an issue. For example, your child seems to be looking and listening when you speak, but you’re not sure whether what you’re saying is hitting home. This may be a sign of a developmental issue called receptive language disorder.

Nearly 1 in 12 American kids between the ages of 3 and 17 have a language, voice, or speech disorder, and receptive language disorder is very much in this mix.

As pediatric speech and language specialists, the team here at Celebrations Speech Group is familiar with the many ways in which kids can find communication challenging, and receptive language disorder certainly qualifies.

If you’re worried that your child may be struggling to understand what’s been said to them, read on to learn more about the more common signs of receptive language disorder.

1. Your child doesn’t identify objects

One of the earliest communication games we play with kids is having them identify objects — where’s the dog, or can you show me the cow in this picture? If your child struggles to play along and appears lost, this is often an early sign of receptive language disorder.

2. Your child doesn’t follow directions well

When it comes to following directions, there are two main reasons why kids don’t — they don’t want to or they don't understand. If your child is amenable enough to do what they’re told but often doesn’t, it might point toward the latter — they don’t understand the directions, which is a common sign of receptive language disorder.

3. Your child doesn’t appear to be listening

If your child fails to understand what’s being said around them, they may simply check out and not listen since what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to them.

4. Your child waits for cues

Kids with receptive language disorder often look around for cues from others when someone speaks. For example, your child may not register that you’ve said it’s dinner time, but when you speak, they watch what they’re siblings do and follow them to the table.

5. Your child finds expressing themself difficult

While technically a different disorder, many kids with receptive language disorder also have expressive language disorder. In other words, the communication issue goes both ways in terms of receiving communication and giving it out. So, your child may struggle to find words to clearly express a thought, idea, or desire.

Next steps for receptive language disorder

While we don’t know exactly what leads to this developmental disorder, we do know that early intervention for issues like receptive language disorders is key. The sooner that we can work with your child to better communicate with the world around them, especially during the early days of development, the better they’re able to navigate the language disorder as they get older.

For expert diagnosis and treatment of receptive and expressive language disorder, we invite you to contact one of our offices in Brentwood, Stockton, or Elk Grove, California, to schedule an appointment.

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