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Receptive language assessment

Receptive language assessment

A receptive language assessment assess a child’s understanding of spoken language. It looks at a range of areas including understanding of different words, instructions, range of sentences structures and abstract language. It is used by the speech and language to identify what skills your child already has in understanding others when they are talking as well as looking at what skills they may need to develop to reduce the difficulties they may be facing. This assessment can be used with all children who are struggling with understanding spoken language.

Speech and language therapists work with children to help them develop their understanding of spoken language to their age appropriate milestones or to the best of their ability. Speech and language therapists will work on increasing children’s understanding of words, concepts, sentences, abstract language and other aspects of language understanding. Using the information from the assessment our speech and language therapist will work with you, your child and their school to create an individualised therapy programme that targets your child’s difficulties and incorporates their motivators and goals.

Benefits of a receptive language assessment

  • Identification of receptive language delay, disorder or difficulties.
  • Information gained from the assessment will aid individual therapy programme.
  • Information from assessment will help parents, teachers and carers on how best to adjust their language to aid the child’s understanding.

A receptive language assessment will help identify what difficulties your child is experiencing as well as highlight their strengths. The information from the assessment will help the speech and language therapist to create a therapy programme that works on increasing their skills and provide you with specific advice and strategies.

Find out more…

What will the receptive language assessment assess?

The speech and language therapist will use the receptive language assessment to determine what difficulties your child is experiencing with understanding spoken language. Receptive language skills change and develop as the child grows older. Pre-school children are still developing their understanding and may only understand words that are in their everyday environment whereas older school aged children are expected to understand more abstract language. A receptive language assessment will differ in complexity and skill base depending on the child’s age and ability. Some areas assessed in a receptive language assessment include:

Auditory processing

  • Auditory awareness.
  • Auditory discrimination.
  • Auditory identification.
  • Auditory comprehension.

Attention and memory

  • Ability to attend to others and activities.
  • Ability to hold and retrieve information.

Understanding words at different levels

  • Information carrying words.

Understanding different concepts

  • Understanding of basic concepts.
  • Understanding of abstract concepts.

Inferential comprehension

  • Understanding of idioms, metaphors, jokes and everyday sayings.
  • Understanding of abstract language.

Semantic Skills

  • Attaching meaning to words.
  • Relationships between words.
  • Categorising words.

Grammar (syntax and morphology)

  • Understanding of sentences of different complexities and structures.
  • Understanding of different word forms.

Why is a receptive language assessment needed?

Understanding spoken language is key to communication and interaction. A child must be able to understand what is being said in order to respond appropriately. A child who does not use the correct skills for their age may misunderstand what was being said, find it difficult to follow instructions or appear to be rude. Children with receptive language difficulties may only understand parts of an instruction, or may struggle to understand the meaning of certain words. Children may have a literal understanding of what is said and therefore may struggle with abstract language such as, idioms and jokes. These difficulties can impact a child’s communication ability as the child may give unrelated or inappropriate responses as they have not understood what was said to them. Difficulties with receptive language can also cause children to struggle with social interaction and academic progress. A receptive language assessment will help determine if a child has:

The speech and language therapist will use the information that is gained from the assessment to create a unique therapy programme that targets your child’s individual difficulties with receptive language. Speech and language therapy helps to increase your child’s understanding of spoken language in order to increase their communication skills.

Typical conditions that require a receptive language assessment

Below are some of the common conditions the receptive language assessment is used for:

Our speech and language therapist can help children with a range of difficulties and conditions, including children who have not been diagnosed or identified with a specific condition. The receptive language assessment will help identify the specific difficulties your child is experiencing and the impact of these difficulties on their daily life. Our speech and language therapist can provide therapy to help increase your child’s receptive language skills.

What information will I receive following a receptive language assessment?

After an assessment our speech and language therapist will provide a summary of the assessment and its results. Following an assessment you can request a report that details the findings of the assessment. The report will also contain information about how the difficulties, disorder or impairment is impacting on your child’s communication and daily activity. The report will also contain a therapy programme and recommendations on how to improve your child’s receptive language skills and overall communication.

Treatment following a receptive language assessment

Some of the available receptive language therapy treatments are listed below:

  • Parent child interaction therapy e.g. Hanen approach.
  • Development of preverbal skills.
  • Information carrying words e.g. Derbyshire language scheme.
  • Visual aids to support understanding of language.
  • Naturalistic approaches e.g. adjusting the child’s communicative environment.
  • Development of inference.
  • Comprehension monitoring.
  • Language therapy.
  • Makaton.

We offer a wide range of treatments, if you feel that your child could benefit from a certain therapy programme contact our speech and language therapist for more details. Email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call us on 0330 088 2298.


In summary the receptive language assessment is used to identify difficulties with understanding spoken language. The receptive language assessment is suitable for a range of conditions and can identify problems such as a receptive language delay or disorder.

Our receptive language assessment is used to inform your child’s therapy plan. If you would like more information on our assessments please email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call on 0330 088 2298.

Talk to us

If you would like any more information on any of the services we offer or would like to book an appointment, do not hesitate to contact us and one of our team will be happy to help. Email office@sltforkids.co.uk or call 0330 088 2298.

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