Receptive Language

a mother talking to her son about receptive identification toolsReceptive identification allows people to respond to the language of others and to ascertain meaning from the language spoken around us. Receptive language, or listener responding, skills are the building blocks of language development. Some children learn receptive language skills on their own while others benefit from breaking down the skills into manageable groups. When a child struggles with receptive language, it is important for parents and teachers to take a proactive approach. Many children who struggle with listener responding skills will eventually develop them on their own, but for those that do not are at risk of falling behind academically and socially. A structured, nurturing, motivating, fun, one-on-one environment is the best way to help a learner acquire receptive language skills.

Can I Help My Child With Receptive Language Acquisition?

Before a child can be reasonably expected to say the name of something, they should be able to point to it, give it, touch it, or in some way indicate that yes, they know what that thing is. Use our RISE (Receptive Identification Single Exemplar) and RIME (Receptive Identification Multiple Exemplars) tools to teach listener responding skills to your learner. Language delays can be frustrating for learners and stressful for their parents. Questions like “why isn’t my child talking?” or “does my child have autism?” can be overwhelming. ABA acronyms and terms can be intimidating to many parents, teachers, and therapists, but aba|tools provides video tutorials, ABA resources, and a community of support.

Tips for Teaching Receptive Language

aba|tools offers listener response modules in fields of 2-10 including selection of single or multiple targets. A target is an object the child is trying to identify. Field size refers to the number of selections available to the learner. Field size is important! Early learners may only be able to differentiate between two items, so using a field of two is an effective starting point.  Try using a “blank distractor” if a field of two images is challenging. By increasing the field size over time, learners improve their scanning and tracking skills.

A distractor is an image meant to distract from the target. Distractors, or images that are not the target image, can vary in similarity to the target. Having distractors become more and more similar over time will challenge the learner to make conditional discriminations based on what was said and what is presented rather than on listening for one key word and making a selection based on that.

Don’t always say the same thing in the same way. Resist the urge to use “up tones” in speech. When asking a child to take a seat, if you always say “sit down” in a sing-song voice, a child who struggles with receptive language might respond to the tone more than the words. Parents and teachers often use these tones to help children feel at ease, but this can cause confusion for a child with receptive language delays.

Teach Receptive Identification With aba|tools

aba|tools offers listener response modules in fields of 2-10 including selection of single or multiple targets. A target is an item the child is trying to identify. Field size refers to the number of selections available to the learner. Field size is important! Early learners may only be able to differentiate between two items, so using a field of two is an effective starting point, however if this is still a challenge, select “blank distractor.” If you only want to display one image at a time, use the Verbal Matrix®. By increasing the field size over time, learners improve their scanning and tracking skills.

A distractor is an image presented with the target used to test understanding. Distractors, or non-target images, can vary in similarity to the target. Having distractors become more and more similar over time will challenge the learner to make conditional discriminations based on what was said and what is presented rather than on listening for one key word and making a selection based on that.

Teach Verbal Behavior With aba|tools

By default, in the RISE and RIME tools, when your learner selects a correct image a green border appears around the image. If the learner selects a distractor, a red border appears. This customizable feature will highlight the correct answer if you need to prompt and may even serve as a reinforcer for some learners. In RIME this feature also works in reverse for negation tasks. Register today to start using our BCBA-designed receptive identification tools.

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