August 31, 2015

Therapists in Chicago: Receptive vs. Expressive Language Delays

In our interview with one of Step by Step Care Group’s speech therapists in Chicago, Rachel Myatt mentioned working with children diagnosed with receptive language and expressive language delays. Some might think that receptive and expressive language goes hand in hand, but Rachel says most of her patients often have one delay or the other.
Receptive Language Disorder
Receptive language refers to the input of language. Receptive language focuses on what we hear and how we interpret the information. For example, our therapists in Chicago might have a picture of a boy and a girl eating and would ask the child to point to the picture that shows “she is eating”. If the child points to the girl eating, then they understand the difference between he and she. Receptive language corresponds with comprehension. If a child has fully developed receptive language, they would understand if someone said that “the boy was bit by the dog” that the dog was doing the biting.  Children that have difficulty following direction, listening, and comprehending information may have a receptive language disorder. Speech therapists in Chicago incorporate goals of following one-step directions, identifying objects, and understanding concepts for children with receptive language disorders.
Click here for some strategies to improve receptive language.
Expressive Language Disorder
Expressive language refers to the output of language. It is explained as how one expresses his or her wants and needs. Expressive language involves appropriate facial expressions, gestures, words, and grammar use. Children with expressive language disorders may be able to understand speech but are not able to properly use pronouns, express their needs verbally, and construct sentences appropriately. They might leave out functional words in sentences such as are, is, the, or am. Speech therapists in Chicago might ask a child to explain a picture, and a child would need to be able to verbalize what is happening in the picture. Goals for expressive language disorders would be verbalizing wants and needs, creating complex sentences, and using appropriate pronouns.
If you feel your child may have a receptive or expressive language disorder reach out to your pediatrician to see if a referral to a speech therapist is appropriate. You can also contact Step By Step Care Group for a speech evaluation.


“Late Blooming or Language Problem?” ASHA. ASHA, n.d. Web. 29 June 2015.
Olson, Gretchen. “Expressive vs. Receptive Language.” North Shore Pediatric Therapy. N.p., 15 May 2012. Web. 29 June 2015.

“Receptive and Expressive Language.” Serve Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 June 2015.

Contact Us

Premier Child Therapy Services in Chicago, IL

Contact Blog Form
First name
Last name
Areas of Interest