Expressive and Receptive Language Difficulties

Challenges with expressive language can present in many different forms. Expressive language challenges involve difficulties expressing wants and needs and communicating with others using language. Expressive language delays can start as early as 16-18 months with children who are “late talkers” and can continue through ages 2-5 if children are having difficulties with sentence structure and grammar. Older children (6+) with expressive language difficulties often have trouble with narratives (e.g. talking about their days, retelling stories) and using both specific and descriptive language.

Challenges with receptive language also present themselves in many forms. These challenges involve the difficulties in understanding language. This can lead to difficulties answering yes/no questions, wh- (who, what, where, when, how) questions, following directions and story comprehension.

See below for expected expressive and receptive language development (source)

Expressive Language

4-6 months

  • Children start to babble especially when happy/playing
  • Children use gestures and sounds to communicate their wants/needs

7-12 months

  • Babbling starts to sound like child is having a conversation
  • First words begin

1-2 years

  • Starts to use short phrases and ask short (2 word) questions

2-3 years

  • Children ask questions and make comments
  • Sentences are 2-3 words long

3-4 years

  • Sentences are 4+ words long
  • Children can be understood by strangers and children talk about their experiences

4-5 years

  • Children can have a conversation with long, detailed and specific sentences
  • They use adult-like grammar

Receptive Language

4-6 months

  • Starts to respond to “no”
  • Becomes interested in sounds such as music or toys that make noise

7-12 months

  • Listens when spoken to
  • Starts to recognize names of familiar objects
  • Starts to follow familiar 1-step directions

1-2 years

  • Points to nouns that are named (e.g. body parts, pictures in a book)
  • Follows simple questions
  • Understands simple questions

2-3 years

  • Follows 2-step directions

3-4 years

  • Answers who, what, where questions

4-5 years

  • Answers questions about stories

What can we do to help?

At Express Yourself Speech we help children from as early as 18 months all the way to adolescence. We will help late talkers develop single words, help a toddler to use sentences and will help a child/adolescent use correct sentence structure, grammar and specific language. We will also assist your children with understanding and processing language.