What is an Expressive Language Disorder?
Expressive language refers to the communication of thoughts, feelings, and ideas conveyed both verbally and non-verbally. An expressive language disorder, therefore, indicates one’s inability to appropriately communicate using spoken language and gestures, as well as the inability to express oneself in written form. Expressive language disorders that develop over time do so for unknown reasons; however, the disorder can also develop as a direct result of a trauma, like damage to the brain or a stroke.
Expressive language disorders are fairly common in children. This disorder becomes evident as a child appears to lack age-appropriate language and verbal communication skills. An expressive language disorder may appear in conjunction with receptive language impairments.
What are some symptoms of an expressive language disorder?
Children with an expressive language disorder may have difficulties with word retrieval, grammar, pronouns, verbs, concepts, and expression of wants/needs. Younger children may have limited expressive vocabularies and may not use word combinations when communicating. Children with an expressive language disorder appear to develop slower than their peers, and they do not generalize new skills as quickly. These children may tend to use gestures more frequently than vocalizations to communicate, as they do not have the language to request and comment.
How does an expressive language disorder progress?
Expressive language disorders are more prevalent in boys than girls and can develop spontaneously over time. They can be caused by many unfortunate events. Typically, developing children are able to consistently add new words to their vocabularies, and they can begin to combine words into more complex sentences. Children with expressive language disorders do not exhibit the growth in language that is expected– these children thus require services to facilitate improvements in their verbal communication.
How can I help treat my child’s expressive language disorder?
Speech-language pathologists are crucial to helping your child develop better communication skills. The therapist will first examine your child to determine the extent of his condition. Your child’s hearing may also be evaluated in order to rule out hearing loss or impairment, as this can negatively impact his acquisition of language. The focus of treatment is to increase functional communication skills using a variety of therapeutic techniques and strategies.
Our Approach at North Shore Pediatric Therapy
At North Shore Pediatric Therapy, children with expressive language disorders participate in intensive, individualized services with a speech-language pathologist. Our therapists also work with your whole family in order to maximize all potential benefits for your child. We encourage families to incorporate therapy strategies in everyday situations to further address the treatment objectives. Children then participate in small social groups within our clinical environment in order to practice the therapy tools they have learned in hope that they will be able to apply those tools to everyday situations.