Expressive Language (Expression)

Expressive Language refers to a child’s ability to express him/herself in order to convey meaning to others. This is done through the use of gestures, speaking and/or writing.  Depending on the child’s age, expressive language skills may include:

  • Using single words spontaneously
  • Making requests for objects and actions
  • Describing objects, actions and events
  • Putting words together to form sentences
  • Using correct grammar (e.g. ” I ate an apple”, not “me eated an apple”)
  • Asking and answering questions appropriately
  • Giving clear instructions
  • Using long, complex sentences that may include words such as ‘because’, ‘so’, ‘but’, ‘although’, etc.)
  • Telling stories that include important details in a logical order
Expressive language difficulties may be due to problems with:
  • Formulation of speech (ability to produce sounds)
  • Knowledge of the sounds used in speech (phonology)
  • Knowledge of words (vocabulary)
  • Knowledge of sentence structure (grammar)
  • Knowledge of how language is used in stories (narratives)
  • Knowledge of how to use language socially (pragmatics)

Receptive language (Comprehension)

Receptive language refers to a child’s ability to understand or comprehend the sounds, words and language used by others. It includes gestures, and spoken or written words.  Depending on the child’s age, receptive language skills can include:

  • Gaining information and meaning from visual information within the environment (e.g. mommy is holding her keys, which means we are going in the car), sounds (e.g. a siren means a fire engine is coming), and words (e.g. the word ‘ball’ means a round, bouncy object that we play with)
  • Understanding grammar (e.g. plurals dog=dogs, past tense play=played etc.)
  • Understanding questions and/or requests
  • Understanding how words are related or associated with each other (e.g. opposites, synonyms, part/whole etc.)
  • Following instructions of increasing length and complexity
  • Understanding inhibitory words (e.g. ‘no’, ‘stop’, ‘wait’)
  • Understanding concepts (e.g. big/little, in/on, before/after etc.)
  • Understanding indirect requests and sarcastic comments
  • Understanding that the meaning of a word can change depending on the context
  • Following stories as a whole, drawing conclusions, and making predictions as to what might happen next
Receptive language difficulties may be due to a problem with:
  • Knowledge of the underlying sound system (phonology)
  • Knowledge of words (vocabulary)
  • Knowledge of sentence structures (grammar)
  • Knowledge of how language is used in stories (narratives)

Pragmatics/Social Language

Pragmatics (Social Language) includes:
  • Using and understanding gestures
  • Following the rules of conversation (e.g. taking turns, staying on topic, indicating he/she does not understand)
  • Interpreting and using appropriate tone of voice, body language, facial expression and gestures
  • Understanding that other people have different points of view
  • Using appropriate language to show an interest in others
Assessing Your Child’s Language Skills

At Magnolia Speech & Wellness, we provide both screenings and comprehensive assessments of your child’s language skills to help determine whether they demonstrate age appropriate developmental skills. In addition to their language skills, there may be other contributing factors that may also need to be considered including:

HEARING: which is important in order to be able to hear all the sounds and information contained in speech and language. Your child may be referred to an Audiologist for a hearing test, if needed.

ATTENTION & LISTENING: which is required in order to be able to focus their attention long enough and listen consistently to speech and language, so that they can process the information, plan and produce appropriate responses.

MEMORY: which is important in order to retain and learn new vocabulary, follow instructions, and comprehend stories, etc.

PLAY: which is required to expose the child to opportunities to explore and learn language.

Our Speech-Language Pathologists at Magnolia Speech & Wellness work closely with the child and their family in a fun and engaging environment. Learning to speak is such an integral part of a child’s development. The progress that is made in the preschool and early school years is especially important in mastering the rules of language and developing a rich and creative vocabulary.

If you have any other questions or concerns about our speech therapy services or are curious whether we may be able to help you, feel free to send us a message, book online, or call us at (705) 990-3100.

Book an Appointment

Give us a call or book an appointment online for a free phone consultation.  We look forward to hearing from you.

or call us at (705) 990-3100