Receptive Language is what children do with information when listening. It is how they process and understand what they hear. It’s how they understanding word meanings, sentences, and higher level language forms (e.g., multiple meanings, jokes, inferences, and abstractions). As children get older, they learn more complex language forms and vocabulary through reading. Normal hearing is important for language growth, which is why pediatricians screen hearing as part of the well-child visit.

Children with good receptive language skills:

  • Follow directions
  • Have good listening skills
  • Process spoken information
  • Answer questions appropriately
  • Understand stories that are read to them
  • Have good vocabulary knowledge

Characteristics of a receptive language disorder may include confusion in the classroom, misunderstanding verbal information, responding to questions incorrectly, missing word meanings, and problems communicating with friends.

Children with a receptive language disorder may appear to understand because they are able to pick out key words in sentences and follow non-verbal clues (gestures or eye gaze of the speaker). Sometimes a child’s spoken language gives the impression they are functioning at age level, but their understanding may be compromised. Other children with receptive language challenges become lost in the classroom setting and may be misdiagnosed as having an attention deficit. For more information see:

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(Your Screening Code is emailed to you after you purchase the WELL screening.)