Receptive Problems

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What to expect

Receptive problems

A receptive problem is when a person's comprehension and understanding is compromised. This can be caused by many different things and is often coupled with expressive language problems or delay. The lack of understanding can relate to the understanding of words, structure of sentences and concepts.

Speech and language therapy can help to improve and support an individuals understanding, maximising their communication to their highest potential.

What are receptive problems?

Receptive problems occur when someone has difficulty understanding language, this can be either written or spoken language. Receptive problems usually occur from a young age, and comprehension usually precedes production. However, adults can suffer from receptive problems; this is usually a result of damage to the brain. This can be caused by a brain tumour, infection or after a stroke. The damage usually affects the left side of the brain, which is responsible for language. Different aspects of communication are affected depending on which part of the brain has been damaged and to what extent.

People who have a receptive problem may get extremely frustrated. Speech and language therapists work with patients and their families to try and work through some of these frustrations and to improve methods for communication and help with understanding.

What causes receptive problems?

There are many different causes of receptive language problems, and symptoms can vary depending on each individual. A stroke is the most common cause of receptive problems in adults. A stroke happens after there is lack of oxygen to the brain and is caused by a blood clot or bleeding in the brain.

Receptive problems can also be caused by trauma to the brain; this can be through injury, tumour haemorrhage or hematoma. Severity depends upon the extent of injury to the brain and the amount of time the brain has been subjected to lack of oxygen. Damage is usually sustained in the left side of the brain.

Common conditions causing receptive problems in adults include:

What problems caused by receptive problems can speech and language therapy help with?

Speech and language therapy is extremely beneficial for people suffering from problems associated with receptive problems. A speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment and will focus on one or more of these areas, depending upon each individual's ability and preference:

How does speech and language therapy help receptive problems?

Speech and language therapy can help and support individuals who suffer from receptive problems in many different ways. Ideally speech and language therapy would begin as soon as possible after the patient has been diagnosed. Speech and language therapy helps by providing different techniques to overcome and / or deal with the effects of a receptive problem. Speech and language therapy includes exercises for reading, writing, repetitive speech patterns and direction following. A speech and language therapist may use the aid of computer assessment as well as standard measures, depending upon the patient's level of disorder. Speech and language therapy is always tailored to each individual.

Benefits of speech and language therapy are:

What would speech and language therapy treatment for receptive problems involve?

Speech and language therapy for receptive problems can include one or more of the following:

Specific treatments which can help individuals with receptive problems include:

  • Total Communication Approach
  • Compensatory Strategies
  • How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for receptive problems?

    To arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for someone with receptive problems please email or call 0330 0885 643 and a member of the speech and language therapy team will be happy to help.


    An individual may have receptive problems for a number of reasons associated with trauma to the brain. This will affect their output of language and communication. People may have one or the other or experience both forms. It will depend upon the severity of the brain damage as to how affected a person's communication is. To arrange a speech and language therapy appointment please call 0330 0885 643.

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