Receptive Language….huh?

25 Feb

Once again I have to point out that during my time in the higher education system, I learned the definitions and the textbook information and other sorts of useless stuff, BUT I didn’t really learn quite how to specifically address disorders. When I got out in the world for internships and you know, MY JOB, that proved to be a problem since I do speech THERAPY.

What disorder do I speak of today? Receptive language delays and disorder.

As I had been taught, receptive language abilities and skills enable a child to understand the meaning of sound and spoken language.

Yeaaaah….so…..about that?

After a few weeks at my CF I finally asked my supervisor, “Um, so, this is really embarrassing but…if a kid has receptive language delay…what do you DO for that?”

She, luckily, is a kind and non-judgmental human and gave me some tips. Which I now pass onto you!

Make a word sandwich: Say it, Show it, SAY IT

Use a slow speech rate

Exaggerate key words and speech sounds

Support comprehension with signs, touch, vision, music and any other modalities/senses

Use simple language, give plenty of repetition and experience with new words

Model response expected then repeat the direction

Give visual cues when giving directions

And the part that I’m bad at: reduce cues to assess comprehension

How can someone be bad at that? It’s my natural inclination to point, or repeat myself WAY too many times. My supervisor and I were watching a video of me doing therapy last week and Lord Almighty if I told that kid to “Get the cup”  one more time he probably would have punched me.

I need to improve my scaffolding. To say the least. My supervisor gave me a way to kind of…think about what I’m doing.

Step One: Give child direction “Get the cup!”

If child does not respond, Step Two: Repeat yourself and give them an extended period of time to respond.

If child does not respond, Step Three: Point to the cup and say “Get the cup!”

If child does not respond, Step Four: Hand over hand, help the child get the cup, and say “You got the cup!”

Also consider things like, is the child doing something else when you prompt him? We noticed that I was telling my kiddo to get the cup while he was pretty focused on cleaning up. It would have been more beneficial for me to wait for him to finish what he was doing, then prompt him.

And don’t prompt the child to do something that hasn’t been the focus of play or isn’t in his line of vision (unless you’re testing object permanence which why would you be doing that? Get back in your scope!) I’ve been known to do this when trying to do the PLS (it’s all, “Get the child to identify a duck” and I’m like “Crap where is the duck? ‘Find the duck!‘” and the duck is over on the table behind a book and the kid is doing a puzzle or blowing bubbles.)

Also be thinking, is the child not responding to me because of a processing issue or because he doesn’t understand the language?

Hopefully since I just shared this with you, it will stick in my brain a little better. And Liza – I’ll write about Deaf culture after my ASL course on Thursday because that’s our last day talking about culture specifically!

NP: The Lumineers – Stubborn Love


5 Responses to “Receptive Language….huh?”

  1. maggie February 25, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    This was so helpful to me! I saw a client this morning and was at a loss of how to address his receptive language goal of understanding names of familiar objects. I will definitely try the different techniques you mentioned! thank you!!

    • weathersby February 28, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

      I’m so glad! I learned at a training that if you’re watching a video of someone doing therapy that you should be thinking “What are the goals of this session? What is this therapist trying to accomplish?” and I realized with some of my kids that if someone was watching MY session they would have no clue that I’m targeting receptive language.

      It is hard to be thinking of so many things during a session and also be playing and having fun! Can’t wait til it’s second nature.

  2. Liza February 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    I am happy when you post about anything! Completely relate to feeling like grad school doesn’t teach us know to, ya know, do therapy.

  3. aacerson February 27, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    Haha, so true! When I was finished with grad school, I thought to myself, “Yes, I know a lot about language disorders, but I don’t know how to fix it!” Kind of a scarey feeling, but I’ve learned since then that we know a lot more than we think we do. Thank goodness for great supervisors!

    • weathersby February 28, 2013 at 8:43 pm #

      Great supervisors and mentors are VITAL. I’ve been pretty lucky so far and have such awesome speechy role models.

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