I have several other posts that address receptive language problems. Here’s a short list of red flags I saw:
- inability to manipulate words he’d heard before in new ways. For example, he knew the words “I want” and “milk” or “ball”, but he couldn’t formulate, “I want the ball” or even “I want” “want ball” or “I ball.”
- He also never demonstrated pronoun reversal “I” instead of “you,”
- He used his name instead of “I” (still does this occasionally)
- Couldn’t use people’s names in conversation even though he knew who they were (i.e. He didn’t call for Mommy or try to get attention by saying “Mommy…” But if Daddy asked him who I was, or showed him a picture of me, he could say, “Mommy!”
- He didn’t proactively talk, but only responded.
- He labelled objects all the time. I think that was his way of initiating conversation.
- He didn’t say communicative words like, “Look…” or “See the…” or “Watch…”
- He tended to talk in questions instead of statements (because of course, that’s what he heard most of the day, as we tried to figure out what he needed!). “You ready for dinner?” instead of “dinnertime!” or “Want dinner!” or “I’m hungry!”
- He didn’t ask for things that weren’t present.
- He didn’t point very much (except to the sky when he heard an airplane or something)
- He didn’t know if we were talking to him or someone else. He didn’t notice sometimes when we were talking to him, or he’d respond if my husband and I were talking to one another.
- Didn’t respond to a general address like, “Everybody get your shoes.”
But the main thing I saw was a stalling of his overall language expression. He was about as articulate at three years old, as he was at two years old. His speech got more refined (i.e. less babytalk, clearer grammar, lots of animation), but not more complex.