Difference Between Receptive and Expressive Language

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Have you ever heard of receptive and expressive language as a means of communication for kids? In short, expressive language is how kids use words to express themselves, whereas receptive language is how kids understand language.

This article discusses in a lot of detail the application of these two languages in children, the potential problems that may arise, and the solutions you can apply to your child to understand and explain the difference between receptive and expressive language to other parents like yourself.

The fundamental difference lies in the language used in writing. That's not to be confused with reflective writing and expressive writing.

This picture shows a child writing on a board. This picture was chosen as the intro to this article so that you can see the difference between receptive and expressive language.

Receptive language.

Receptive language is the ability to understand spoken language heard or read. This ability is an input.

For example, a child listens and follows instructions such as "Let's take a bath." That's the child's receptive language skill.

In general child development, children can understand language before they can communicate. 

Input first, output later:

  • Listening -> Speaking
  • Reading -> Writing

Children who don't understand language may have a receptive language disorder.

Children who have difficulty understanding language have:

  • Difficulty following instructions.
  • Difficulty understanding the meaning of body movements.
  • Difficulty answering questions.
  • Difficulty recognizing objects and pictures.
  • Difficulty understanding reading.
  • Difficulty understanding a story.

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Expressive language

Expressive language is the ability to express desires and needs through verbal or non-verbal communication. This ability is productive.

It's the ability to organize thoughts and put them into meaningful sentences. Children aren't yet required to use correct language, but they can recognize word order and meaning.

Children who have hard communicating their wants and needs may have an expressive language disorder. For example, they may not be able to tell you that they are hungry or that they need to go to the bathroom.

Children who have difficulty expressing language have:

  • Difficulty asking questions.
  • Difficulty naming objects.
  • Rarely use body language or gestures.
  • Seldom uses facial expressions.
  • They rarely make comments.
  • Use of a small vocabulary.
  • Poor use of grammar rules.
  • Use of words or phrases that do not have a clear meaning.

After understanding the difference between receptive and expressive language, you can recognize whether your child's growth and development in terms of speech is appropriate or presents difficulties. But keep in mind not to make a diagnosis yourself. You always need the help of an expert, such as a pediatrician or therapist.

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The Bloggors Blog shows you just what you need to do when it comes to communication and how you ought to improve to be the best version of yourself. However, we are not responsible for any disputes you may have when putting our advice into practice, although this doesn't want that our articles are not correct or safe. All our articles have been written by authors who are experts in their field. Some of his solutions may work for others and may not work for you.

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