When Understanding is like an Ice-cream Treat


“I get excited when I understand what someone says. Most of the time I only understand bits of what they say, not all of what they say. When I understand all of what they say its like rainbow ice-cream, with sprinkles and chocolate sauce; its like eating a yummy treat”.

‘Language’ is such a tricky concept for many kiddos’ on the Spectrum.

‘Receptive Language’ goes beyond just vocabulary skills, and beyond speech ability – it is the ability to comprehend vocabulary, directions, concepts and questions; and, can impact significantly on a child’s ability to communicate and engage in social conversation.

Children with receptive language difficulties commonly experience:
* Difficulty processing information presented verbally.
* Difficulty answering ‘who, what, when, where, why’ questions.
* Difficulty following the content of a conversation accurately (and talking ‘off topic’ as a result).
* Difficulty with reading comprehension.
* Acting before a direction in completed and / or attend to only part of an instruction.
* Following what others are doing and appearing ‘lost’.

Some ways to support a child with receptive language difficulties include:
* Shortening directions, outlining only one step at a time.
* Using direct language, eg “put your toys away” rather than “Your room is messy”.
* Use gestures to help communicate and show / model what you want the child to do.
* Use visuals.
* Use real objects to teach concepts – ‘hands on’ activities that are interactive.
* ‘Check in’ with the child that they have understood your verbal words.

Photo: Child’s handwriting on a piece of lined paper. Writing reads: “I get excited when I understand what someone says. Most of the time I only understand bits of what they say, not all of what they say. When I understand all of what they say its like rainbow ice-cream, with sprinkles and chocolate sauce; its like eating a yummy treat”.

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