10 Tips for Supporting Children with Receptive Language Disorder

By Rajini D

Last Updated: April 29, 2024

Welcome to a journey of understanding and support for children experiencing Receptive Language Disorder (RLD). Imagine a world where the simple act of following directions, comprehending a story, or recognizing daily vocabulary becomes a daily challenge. This is the reality for children with receptive language disorder, a condition where children have difficulties understanding what is said to them.

RLD not only affects academic success but also impacts social interactions and self-esteem. Recognizing and addressing this disorder early can significantly enhance a child’s communication skills, leading to more successful school experiences and healthier social relationships.

Understanding Receptive Language Disorder

In the world of language development, there are two fundamental types that our children learn: receptive and expressive language. While expressive language refers to the ability to convey thoughts, feelings, and information through words, gestures, or writing, receptive language is about how well a child understands and processes the language they hear or read.

Some children have trouble understanding what they hear. This can be tricky to spot at first. Here are some things to look for:

  • Trouble following directions: Does your child forget what you ask them to do, especially if there is more than one instruction?
  • Mixing up questions: Does your child often need you to say things again or in a different way?
  • Limited understanding of words: Does your child seem to know fewer words than other kids their age?
  • Trouble talking with others: Does your child seem withdrawn or confused during conversations?
  • Saying or doing the wrong thing: Does your child sometimes misunderstand what’s being said and do something unexpected?

10. Essential Tips for Supporting Children

Reading with you can be a super adventure! Here are some ideas to turn books into exciting games:

1. I Spy Challenge:

Can you find things with your eyes? Just like in an “I Spy” book, we can play anywhere! I’ll describe something, and you’ll find it! Maybe it’s “something red” or “something soft.”

2. Simon Says Follow the Leader:

Remember Simon Says? This helps you listen and follow directions. I might say, “Simon Says touch your nose,” or something silly! We can start easy and get trickier as we play.

3. Twister Time:

Want to learn while you move? Twister can help you learn colors, shapes, and even your body parts. When I say “right foot on blue,” you put your foot there! It’s like exercise for your brain and your body!

4. Following Directions:

Sometimes, directions can be confusing. Let’s make them super clear, one step at a time. Like, “Get the red ball” or “Show me where the teddy bear is.

5. Favorite Things Fun:

Learning new words is easier when it’s about things you already know!

  • Pick Your Playthings: Grab a few toys you love!
  • Name and Talk: Let’s say the names of the toys, then add more words like “red ball” or “Where is the teddy bear?

6. Asking for Things:

Want something? Let’s learn how to ask!

  • Use Your Words: I might hold a toy you want that is just out of reach. Can you ask for it by saying its name or making a sound about it?
  • Say it Right: As you get better, try asking in full sentences, like “Can I have the ball, please?

7. Pictures and Words:

Look at the pictures in a book together. Can you find things and tell me what’s happening?

8. Questions, Questions!

Let’s talk about the story! What do you think will happen next? Why did a character do something?

9. Remember and Repeat:

Hearing things again helps you learn them. We can go over the story, focusing on the most important parts, to make sure it all makes sense.

10. Simple and Clear:

We can always use short, easy-to-understand words to make sure you know what to do. Pictures can also help explain things!

Also Read: 8 Tips for Better Receptive Language in Children with Autism

Incorporating Daily Activities into Language Development

Turning everyday activities into learning opportunities can be a game-changer for children with Receptive Language Disorder. Activities like puzzles and grocery shopping are not only fun but also rich in educational value, especially for language development. Here’s how you can weave these activities into daily routines to create a natural and continuous learning environment:


Puzzles are fun, but they can also help you learn to talk better! Here’s how:

  • Talk about the pieces: When you pick up a puzzle piece, say what you see. Like “sun” or “house corner.”
  • Ask questions: Help your brain find the right spot by asking things like “Where does this go?” or “Can you find the dog piece?
  • Make up a story: Once the puzzle is almost done, use the picture to tell a story together! This is fun and helps you use your words.

Grocery Shopping Play

Setting up a mini grocery store at home can provide a playful yet educational experience that enhances language skills.

  • Use Real or Toy Food Items: Create a shopping list with pictures and words. This helps your child associate words with their corresponding items.
  • Role Play: Take turns being the shopper and the cashier. Use this playtime to practice phrases and sentences like, “I would like to buy the apples” or “How much does this cost?
  • Follow Directions: Incorporate simple instructions such as, “Please put the bread in the bag” or “Can you find the cheese?” This helps your child practice understanding and following verbal commands.

Tips for Integrating Language Skills into Daily Routines

  • Label Household Items: Place labels on items around the house. This helps children connect text with objects, enhancing their vocabulary and reading skills.
  • Narrate Your Actions: Talk through everyday tasks as you perform them. For example, when cooking, you might say, “Now, I’m cutting the carrots into slices,” or “Let’s stir the soup together.”
  • Use Technology: Consider apps and games designed for language development. These can be especially helpful for visual learners and can make learning exciting and interactive.

Read more on our article: Master Communication: Learn Pragmatic Language Skills.

Activity Guide for Language Development

ActivitySkills DevelopedTips for Engagement
Interactive ReadingVocabulary, Comprehension, Attention to DetailUse colorful, picture-rich books; ask questions about the story and characters; let the child turn the pages.
“I Spy” GameVocabulary, Object Identification, AttentionUse an “I Spy” book or play it in different settings (indoors and outdoors); make it a fun competition.
Simon SaysFollowing Directions, Listening Skills, Motor SkillsStart with simple commands and gradually increase complexity; occasionally let the child lead the game.
TwisterBody Awareness, Color and Shape Recognition, Following DirectionsUse clear instructions; relate colors and body parts to real-life objects or scenarios to enhance understanding.
PuzzlesProblem-Solving, Vocabulary, Fine Motor SkillsChoose puzzles appropriate to the child’s age and ability; talk about each piece and its placement; celebrate successes.
Grocery Shopping PlayFollowing Instructions, Vocabulary, CategorizationCreate a play shopping list with pictures and names; set up a small grocery area with labeled items; role-play as shopper and cashier.


Supporting children with Receptive Language Disorder (RLD) is vital for their language development and well-being. By using simple, effective strategies in daily life, parents and caregivers can help children understand and communicate better. If your child shows signs of language difficulties, seeking early help is essential. Professional advice can offer customized strategies and support that make a real difference.

At Wellness Hub, we’re here to help parents of children with language disorders. We provide resources and expert guidance to support you and your child. Check out our website at Wellness Hub for practical tips and expert advice. With the right support, your child can overcome challenges and enjoy communicating with those around them.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is Receptive Language Disorder?

Receptive Language Disorder is a condition where a child has difficulties understanding words, sentences, or specific types of information. This can affect their ability to follow instructions, engage in conversations, and perform academically.

2. How can I tell if my child has Receptive Language Disorder?

Common signs include trouble following directions, difficulties in understanding questions, limited vocabulary, and challenges in social interactions. If you notice these signs, consider consulting a speech-language pathologist.

3. What are some effective strategies to support a child with Receptive Language Disorder?

Engaging in interactive reading, playing language-rich games like “I Spy” or “Simon Says,” simplifying instructions, and using everyday activities to enhance language skills are effective strategies. Tailoring activities to your child’s interests can also make learning more enjoyable and effective.

4. How often should I practice these activities with my child?

Regular practice is key. Aim to incorporate language-building activities into your daily routines. Even short, focused sessions of 5-10 minutes can be beneficial if done consistently.

5. Can children with Receptive Language Disorder also have difficulties with expressive language?

Yes, many children with receptive language issues may also face challenges with expressive language, although this is not always the case. It’s important to address both aspects of communication when necessary.

6. Where can I find more resources or support for managing Receptive Language Disorder?

Wellness Hub offers a variety of resources, including expert advice and practical tips for parents dealing with language disorders. Visit our website at Wellness Hub to learn more and find additional support.

7. What role do professionals play in managing Receptive Language Disorder?

Speech-language pathologists play a crucial role in diagnosing and treating Receptive Language DisordersMaster Communication: Learn Pragmatic Language Skills. They provide targeted therapies and strategies tailored to each child’s specific needs, helping improve understanding and communication skills.

8. Can technology help children with Receptive Language Disorder?

Yes, various technological tools, such as language development apps and educational software, are designed to enhance language comprehension and interaction. These tools provide interactive and engaging ways for children to practice language skills.

9. How can schools support children with Receptive Language Disorder?

Schools can support these children by providing tailored educational plans, language therapy sessions, and accommodations such as extra time for tasks, modified instructions, and visual aids to enhance understanding.

10. What can parents do at home to support their child’s language therapy?

Parents can reinforce language skills at home by practicing the strategies recommended by their child’s speech therapist. This includes engaging in language-rich activities, maintaining a consistent routine for practice, and using everyday interactions as opportunities for learning.

About the Author:

Rajini Darugupally

M.Sc., Speech-Language Pathologist (9+ years of experience)

Rajini is a passionate and dedicated Speech-Language Pathologist with over 9+ years of experience, specializing in both developmental speech and language disorders in children and rehabilitation in adults. Driven by a desire to empower each individual to find their voice, Rajini brings a wealth of experience and a warm, genuine approach to therapy.

Currently, at Wellness Hub, she thrives in a team environment that values innovation, compassion, and achieving results for their clients.

Connect with Rajini to learn more about how she can help you or your loved one find their voice.

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