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Receptive Language Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 6 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
Language Disorder Expressive Support

Receptive Language Disorders are a type of language disorder in which an individual has difficulty understanding spoken, and sometimes also written, language. These disorders are sometimes also referred to as learning disabilities, and they are related to an individual’s inability to efficiently process language. While receptive language disorders don’t generally come to light until a child speaks, many are diagnosed prior to the age of four. Sometimes an individual also has trouble with using spoken, and sometimes written, language. When this is the case then a Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder may be diagnosed.

Symptoms of Receptive Language Disorders

Symptoms of Receptive Language Disorders will vary from individual to individual, though some common symptoms may be observed. Often people with such a disorder will not appear to hear others when they are spoken to, show little attention when books are read aloud, struggle to understand complicated sentences, struggle to understand spoken instructions and show general language skills that are inappropriate with their ages. Sometimes individuals with Receptive Language Disorders will also repeat or parrot words or phrases back to the individual who has spoken them. This is known as echolia and is related to this type of disorder.

Causes of Receptive Language Disorders

In many cases the cause of a Receptive Language Disorder is unknown, though it may be related to an individual’s genetics, exposure to speech and language and/or general development. Receptive Language Disorders may also be related to developmental disorders such as Autism or it may result from a brain injury, tumour or disease.

Diagnosing Receptive Language Disorders

In children, Receptive Language Disorders may first be investigated as a learning disability. Hearing and vision tests will likely be given to rule out auditory problems or vision loss, and the child will likely be observed in a number of different settings and interacting with a number of different people. A speech pathologist will then test the child’s language comprehension and his or her language use may also be tested. Again, if a child seems to have trouble both processing and producing language then a Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder may be investigated.

Types of Receptive Language Disorders

There are a variety of disorders that can be classified as Receptive Language Disorders. Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD), Comprehension Deficit, Aphasia and delayed language/speech are all disorders of this type. Autistic individuals and individuals with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) are also said to have Receptive Language Disorders.

Treating Receptive Language Disorders

Treatments for Receptive Language Disorders depend upon an individual’s diagnosis. Speech-language therapy is usually undertaken and special education classes may be recommended. If other needs are assessed then other one-to-one therapies or group therapies may be advised. Parents and other relatives may also seek out support groups if they feel they need to speak with others about their unique circumstances. The speech and language professionals working with this disorder may well have further information on appropriate support groups.

A variety of Receptive Language Disorders exist. If an individual is suspected of having such a disorder then investigation, diagnosis and treatment should be sought as soon as possible.

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My son is 13 and has just had his 2nd assessment, with a find of Receptive Language/Pragmatics.He needs an IEP, which previously had been denied until the speech assessment.My questions are in relationship to "treatment".How do we, as parents (and also the school), know what to ask for?I've looked up the WHAT and need to know NOW WHAT?can you help direct me so that I may direct the school?
thalia - 6-Apr-17 @ 4:47 PM
My son is nearly 12 and for about 7 years I've known there is something wrong but didnt know what, last week he was diagnosed with receptive language disorder!!!! And now reading up on it it is totally him! He was also diagnosed with severe it like syndrome. I'm so upset with this as he could of been helped before,as many times i went into school and doctors and they said nothing...just he was not intersted in school work. I'm a single parent can I get any help with any thing too?
Murf - 2-Mar-17 @ 11:57 AM
@kez27 - Sorry to hear your daughter has been under stress. I'm afraid I can't advise on this as each child and each case is different. However, the positive is that it has been diagnosed and it means that she can now hopefully begin receiving specialised treatment.
SpeechDisorder - 27-Mar-15 @ 1:44 PM
My daughter aged 10 was diagnosed with stress due to the amount of pressure put on her from SATS. She was referred to a speech and language therapist, and she has finally been diagnosed with receptive and expressive language disorder! Is this too late to rectify before high school? We knew there was a problem 3 years ago!! Frustrated mum??
kez27 - 26-Mar-15 @ 2:12 PM
I've finally found a name that describes my sons situation. Thank you for this info. I'm going to do some research now I have a definitive label for it.
berry15 - 23-Jan-15 @ 3:43 PM
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