Receptive and expressive communication and language development skills and children with speech and language disorder in special education centre, mbiabong uyo local government area (l.g.a) of akwa ibom state


Communication is not just an act. It is a process. The process of communication includes transmission of information, ideas, emotions, skills, knowledge by using symbols, words, pictures, figures, graphs or illustrations. The act of communication is referred to as “transmission”. It is the process of transmission that is generally termed communication.

The English word Communication is derived from the Latin noun “communis” and the Latin verb “communicare that means “to share” or “to make common. Communication is a much typed word in the contemporary world. It encompasses a multitude of experience, actions, and events, as well as a whole variety of happenings and meanings and technologies too. It is the activity for conveying information through the exchange of ideas, feelings, intentions, attitude, expectations, perceptions, or commands as by speech, non-verbal gestures, writings, behaviour and possibly by other means. It is a meaningful exchange of information between two or more participants. Communication requires a sender, a message, a medium and a recipient. Although the receiver does not have to be present or aware of the sender intent to communicate at the time of communication, thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Carl Hovland (2002), a well known psychologist, said communication is the process by which an individual (the communicator) transmits stimuli (usually verbal symbols) to modify the behaviour of the other individuals (communicates).

According to Dennis mcQuail (1998) communication is a process, which increases, commonality, but also requires elements of commonality for it to occur at all. A common language for instance does not necessarily bring people together. There are other factors too at play such as a shared culture and a common interest, which bring about a sense of commonality and more significantly, a sense of community.

Communication is therefore, a process of sharing or exchange of ideas, information, knowledge, attitude, feelings among two or more persons through certain signs and symbols. Communication requires a sender, a message, a medium and a recipient.

Communication requires that the communicating parties shares in area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver understands the senders message communicating with others, involves three primary steps;
• Thought: First, information exists in the mind of the sender. This can be a concept, idea, information, or feeling.
• Encoding: Next, a message is sent to a receiver in words or other symbols.
• Decoding: Lastly, the receiver translates the words, signs or symbols into a concept or information that a person can understand.

There are varieties of verbal and non-verbal forms of communication. These include body language, eye contact, sign language, rapid communication and chronemics. Other examples are media content such as pictures, graphics, sound and writing. The convention on the rights of persons with disabilities also defines the communication to include. The display of text, Braille, tactile communication, large print, accessible multimedia as well as written and plain language, human readers argumentative and alternative mocks, means and formats of communication including accessible information and communication technology. Feedback is a critical component of effective communication.

Asserted by Wilson (2006), several views have been expressed by communication scholars, communicologists and lay people alike on what constitutes communication and sometimes what is not
• The art of Mr. A talking to Mr. B
• The exchange and sharing of meaning
• The reduction of uncertainty
• The art in which Mr. A affects the behaviour of Mr. B who turn affects the behaviour of Mr. A.
• The human information processing activity which is linked with the mental references to behaviour.

The mode of action taken in response to message or signal process. The course of action which leads to the behaviour and purpose, the aims or intentions of the communicator and the communicatee. This is why it is understanding when we say that “One cannot communicate about nothing even if be/she were mentally defective. Therefore, communication is a form of expression of human behaviour. It is processual in nature and has clearly defined purpose or purposes.

Hassan (2010) agreed that communication is important both for an individual and also for the society. A person’s need for communication is as strong and as basic as the need to eat, sleep and love. Communication is the requirement of social existence and a resource in order to engage in the sharing of experience, through “symbols mediated interaction”. Isolation is in fact the severest punishment for human being. Grown-ups, children and old people all need to communicate society pushes criminals by locking them up in solitary cells, thus, starving them of basic need, indeed the fundamental right to communicate communication thus involves active interaction with our interaction environments, physical, biological and social. Deprived of this interaction we would not be aware of whether we are safe or in danger, whether hated or loved or satisfied or hungry.

However, most of us take this interaction and this relationship for granted, unless we experience some deprivation of it. When that happens we adapt ourselves to the environment so that we don’t loose touch in both the literal and figurative senses. For, to loose touch is to suffer isolation.

The basic human need for communication can perhaps be traced to the process of man kind evolution from lower species. Animal, for instance, have to be in sensory communication with their physical and biological surrounding to find food, protect themselves and reproduce their species. Communication should not be confused with mass communication while communication is the ability of sharing, giving, imparting, receiving information, mass communication is a process in which professional communicators use communication media to disseminate messages widely, rapidly, simultaneously and continuously to arouse intended meanings in large and diverse audiences in an attempt to influence them in a variety of ways.

Communication is inevitable, irreversible and unrepeatable, communication is inevitable, means that you are communicating without even realizing you are. Even with a blank stare, someone, somewhere is interpreting your thought as their own like the book says, there is no way you cannot respond to someone even by staying quiet that itself is an action and a response. Communication is irreversible; it means that once you say something, it can’t be undone. You can try to make it better or try to make them think of something else of what you said but at the end of the day you still said it. Communication is unrepeatable, it means that when something happens and you try to rein act a situation of how it happened, it won’t come out the way it really happened, it maybe close but never exactly the same.

Communication has two aspects; receptive, language and expressive language. Receptive language is what we hear and understand. Expressive language is what we say to others. These two facets of language are very different but equally important. Good oral language development, both receptive and expressive, is a good predictor of later ability to read and write well. Receptive language is the ability to listen and communicate with others using language. When children begin to talk, their receptive language skills are usually much more advanced than their expressive language skills.

At about four years old, most children have a speaking vocabulary of about 25,300 words but receptive language vocabulary of about 8,000 words. Receptive vocabulary plays a big pare in listening comprehension, which is related to later literacy skills and its necessary for understanding directions and for social contact. It’s easy to recognize the development of expressive language. Receptive language development is not easy to recognize when the new baby responds to the sounds of a pleasant voice. He is beginning to use expressive language. These are signs that he is beginning to use expressive language. These are signs that he is beginning to understand that communication is important and useful.

Every human needs both receptive and expressive language abilities and both begin to develop at birth. As children grow, their ability to understand and use language grows as well. Because, pre-school children have better developed language abilities. This is often the age when hearing or speech problem begin to be noticeable. If you think a child may have a hearing or speech problem, discuss it with the child’s parents, the child may need to see a doctor or be referred to a specialist.
In individuals with disabilities, receptive and expressive language skills often vary greatly. This is especially true for individuals with language and hearing disorders. Individuals with language and hearing disorders. Individuals with language disorders often have better receptive skills. Even for individuals that have higher functioning, expressive language can be difficult. It is important to work on both expressive and receptive language and build both skills equally. Even individuals that cannot talk can and should be working on expressive language. Many people often confuse the two types of language.

Receptive language is the ability to understand language. It is easier to develop and often individuals with language disorders have stronger receptive skills (but there is still often a delay). Receptive language is the ability to follow direction and identify things are examples of receptive language. It is easier for individuals with language disorders because they do not have to recall words when asked a question or given a demand, the individual points to an object or picture. Even reading is a receptive skill, when the individual reads the word ‘”cat”, they need to understand what the word cat is.

Expressive language is the ability to COMMUNICATE language. This does not have to be just verbally. It can be done with sign language or a communication device. Even writing is a form of expressive language. Expressive language involves making request giving information, and labeling things. Expressive language is more difficult because the individual has to recall the words or word they want to use to communicate and then be able to express. Lack of expressive language skills is often the cause of frustration and behaviour in individuals with language disorders. This can also be seen in young toddlers. They tantrum because they are unable to express what they need, want, or are feeling

Sometimes, receptive and expressive language skills can seem very similar or are confused. Receptive language is identifying, and expressive language is recalling the word and communicating it. Language development is a process starting early in human life. Infant’s starts without language, yet by four months of age, babies can discriminate speech sounds and engage in babbling. Some research has shown that the earliest learning begins in the uterus when the feotus starts to recognize the sounds and speech patterns of its mother’s voice, usually, productive language is considered to begin with a stage of pre-verbal communication in which infants use gestures and vocalizations to make their intentions known to others. According to a general principle of development, new forms then take over old functions, so that children lean words to express the same communicative functions which they had already expressed by pre-verbal means.
Communication is such a natural part of our everyday lives that we seldom stop to think about it. Social conversations with families, friends, and casual acquaintances are normally so effortless and pleasant that it is hard to imagine difficulty with it. Most of us have feelings of uncertainty about the adequacy of our speech or language only in stressful or unusual social situations, such as taking to a large audience or being interviewed for a job. If we always had to worry about communicating, we would worry about every social interaction we had.

For some people, however, communication is not effortless and pleasant. Their communication may take great effort. For instance, some individuals have serious problems producing a sufficiently clear voice quality, described as a voice disorder, and other individuals are unable to comprehend the language that others produce, described as a receptive language disorder. When an individual is unable to produce fluent speech, or speech of an appropriate rhythm and rate, this is a fluency disorder, or stutting.

Not all communicating disorders involve disorders of speech, not all speech disorders are as handicapping in social interactions as stuttering, or stuttering, the most common disorder of speech. Stuttering affects only about one in a hundred people who stutter throughout their lives. Most cases of childhood stuttering are resolved by adulthood (Owens, Netz and Heas, 2000).
Speech and language are tools used for communication. A communication disorder may involve language or speech or both, and it impairs a communicative function. Language is the communication of ideas sending and receiving them through an arbitrary system of symbols used according to certain rules that determine meaning. Speech is the neuromuscular activity of forming and sequencing the sounds of oral language. It is the most common symbol system used in communication between humans. Without the rule governed symbol that we call language, we would have only grunts and groans, not speech.

Some language, however, are not based on speech. For example, American Sign Language (ASL) does not involve speech sound. It is a manual language used by many people who can not hear speech, Argumentative or Alternative Communication (AAC) for people with disabilities involving physical movement of speech may consist of alternatives to the speech sounds or oral language.

The American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASLHA) provides definitions of communication disorders, speech disorders, and language disorders. Speech disorders are impairments in the production and use of oral language. They include disabilities in making speech sounds, producing speech with a normal flow and producing voice. On the other hand, language disorders include problems in comprehension and expression. Remember that language is governed by rules. It is an impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken, written, and other symbol system. The disorder may involve the form of language, the content of language, the function of language in communication.

Speech impairment is characterized by difficulty in articulation of words. Examples include stuttering or problems producing particular sounds. Articulation refers to the sounds, syllables, and phonology produced by the individual voice, however, may refer to the characteristic of the sounds produced specifically, the pitch, quality, and intensity of the sound produced often, fluency will also be considered a category under speech, encompassing the characteristics of the rhythms, rate and emphasis of the sound produced.

Speech and language disorder has a great effect on a child’s language development skills. It censuses delay in language acquisition, and any child with speech and language disorder would never/not be in track with speech and language development milestones unlike other children, it causes delay in speech they have difficulties to understand and/or use words in context, both verbally and non-verbally, due to this impairments, they make improper use of words and their meanings, they lack the ability to express ideas in appropriate grammatical patterns.
There are various causes of speech and language problems in children. Developmental speech and language disorder, Autism, structural problems like cleft lip or cleft palate can interfere with normal speech, Apraxia of speech; a specific speech disorder which the child has difficulty in sequencing and executing speech movement and selective mutism which is when a child will not talk at all is certain situations, often school. All these problems affect language development skills in children.

Not all types of speech and language disorder affects children. Children may experience one or more of the following disorders
• Speech sound disorder-difficulty pronouncing sounds.
• Language disorder-difficulty understanding hat they hear as well as expressing themselves with words.
• Cognitive- communication disorders, difficulty with thinking skills including perceptive, memory, awareness, reasoning, judgment, intellect and imagination.
• Stuttering (fluency) disorders, interruption of the flow of speech that may include hesitations, repetitions, prolongations of sounds or words
• Voice disorders, quality of voice that may include hoarseness, nasality, volume (too loud or soft)