11th June 2023.
Survey pdf file links on the Data Tracking Facility have been updated.
As the name implies, this cluster of difficulties relates to the internal organisation of language. A receptive language disorder means the child has difficulties understanding what is said to them. These problems with language comprehension are usually noticeable before the age of four years. In most cases children with receptive language disorder also have an expressive language disorder. This means they have trouble using spoken language.
As these students enter school and more formal learning begins, teachers notice difficulties concerning their response to language. They appear to listen, but often misinterpret, tackling a task inappropriately even though the instructions were explicit. They often 'get the wrong end of the stick', only half completing tasks and putting them off as they are unsure about what really needs to be done.
As young children, these students do not seem to enjoy listening to stories. Converting what is heard to what they need to do is consistently challenging, as they tend to forget, get confused and have a natural disposition to be disorganised. They are likely to prefer solitary activities; a familiar computer game, drawing, painting, making things or immersed in constructing something from Lego or similar.
It is common to see students with Language Disorder struggling to hear against general background noise. They are both sensitive to and easily distracted by noise. They require optimal conditions to deliver what is expected in the classroom. These students seem to tire quickly and tune out from listening earlier than their peers. Subsequently, teachers suggest parents have their hearing checked, but once tested their hearing usually proves to be fine.
As difficulties are encountered at school, parents begin to share their child’s early history. Children with Language Disorder are those who began talking late, and needed speech therapy. As young children they have early articulation difficulties and are challenged by producing rhyming words, remembering sounds and blending sounds. It is difficult for them to pick up correct grammar and tell a story in sequence. They find it challenging to count, recite common nursery rhymes, days in the week, months in the year and the alphabet. Phonological difficulties impact on both reading and spelling progress. In classic circumstances they can find it difficult to read words by sight, so their reading remains stilted and lacks fluency for a considerable time, even with significant intervention.
Their poor capacity to sequence language causes them to mix words out of order, such as, 'I always hate that doing.' They also tend to have difficulties with word-finding and draw on word substitutes as 'that thing,' 'stuff,' 'you know,' 'like what we had' and resort to gesturing. They consistently forget names, words and routines that are familiar and depend on others to recall them. Persistent sequencing and word finding difficulties leave these children as reluctant speakers. They are reluctant to speak to unfamiliar people, rarely volunteer to speak in class and hesitate or refuse to talk on the telephone at home.
Parents and students alike explain how they often get muddled up and confused. They say yesterday for tomorrow, 'open the light' and 'switch the hot water off'. Their difficulty in saying what they mean causes great internal frustration for all. Parents frequently mention angry ‘in the heat of the moment’ outbursts. Their difficulty to sequence thoughts, retrieve words and express their point of view can lead to emotionally charged circumstances. Alternatively, the child gives up, saying, 'It doesn’t matter.'