Chicago Speech Therapy: Is my Child Suffering from a Receptive Language Disorder?

What is Receptive Language Disorder?

Receptive Language Disorder affects the brain’s ability to understand either spoken or written language. It can be directly impact a child’s speech development if left unaddressed.

Up to one out of every 20 children has symptoms of either a Receptive Language Disorder or the related Expressive Language Disorder, and between three and five percent are diagnosed with one or both. Receptive Language Disorder can be inherited or the result of a brain injury. If the language disorder is a hereditary issue, it tends to manifest before the age of four.

Symptoms of Receptive Language Disorder

Children suffering from receptive language disorder will have trouble following directions. They may be uninterested in written or spoken messages and could seem to be ignoring you. Fast speech will be especially difficult for the child to interpret. The child may take figurative expressions literally, for example “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

All of the above issues may become so frustrating for the child that he or she may give up on communicating entirely, causing what is known as a “communication breakdown.”

The following are some signs your child is suffering from Receptive Language Disorder:

  • At 18 months old, he or she does not follow simple instructions like “get your shoes”
  • At 24 months, he or she is not able to point to a picture or body part when it is named
  • At 30 months, he or she does not respond aloud to spoken messages

Treatment Options for Receptive Language Disorder

If any of the above is true, it is important to contact a speech-language pathologist to determine if speech therapy is necessary.

Sometimes it is hard to tell whether your kid is exhibiting symptoms of a language disorder or merely displaying typical childish behavior: being energetic or throwing tantrums can be perfectly normal. The only way to determine for sure is to seek the diagnosis of a speech-language pathologist like Karen George and other professionals at Chicago Speech Therapy. It is important to detect a speech problem at an early stage in the child’s life, as early-intervention speech therapy has proven to be more successful than treatment later on in life.

The first step in speech treatment is proper diagnosis. A speech pathologist will begin by examining the family history of the patient. If many relatives suffered from speech issues it may indicate a genetic susceptibility and a higher likelihood that your child also has the disorder.

A receptive language disorder can occur in tandem with a variety of developmental issues such as autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or in isolation. A broad spectrum of tests will be performed to determine whether your child suffers from any of these.

One of the most common causes of speech development problems is a physical hearing impairment. An audiologist will perform an “audiogram” to test your child’s ability to hear. This test is simple and painless: your child will wear a pair of headphones through which sounds of varying loudness will be played. Subjects are asked to raise a hand when they can hear the sound, and in this manner the lower threshold of their hearing range will be determined.

Speech development disorders may also be the result of an injury to the central nervous system due to disease, a tumor or head trauma. The standard medical tests will be performed to discover any physical damage to the nervous system.

The best way to discover whether a child suffers from receptive language disorder is through comprehension tests carried out by an experienced speech-language pathologist. Karen George and her team at Chicago Speech Therapy will carefully observe patients in a variety of settings and compare their speech development to the expected level for their age.

If you are concerned with your child’s speech or language development, please contact Chicago Speech Therapy by calling 312-399-0370 or by clicking on the “Contact Karen” button on the upper right section of this page.

Karen George is a Chicago speech-language pathologist. The practice she founded, Chicago Speech Therapy, LLC, provides in-home pediatric speech therapy in Chicago and surrounding suburbs. Karen and her team of Chicago speech therapists have a reputation for ultra-effective speech therapy and work with a variety of speech disorders. Karen is the author of several books such as A Parent’s Guide to Speech and Language Milestones, A Parent’s Guide to Articulation, A Parent’s Guide to Speech Delay, A Parent’s Guide to Stuttering Therapy, and A Parent’s Guide to Pediatric Feeding Therapy. She is often asked to speak and has addressed audiences at top Children’s Hospitals and Northwestern University. Karen is highly referred by many Chicago-area Pediatricians and elite schools.