Expressive Language Disorder

Expressive language disorder is a communication disorder in which there are difficulties with verbal and written expression. It is a specific language impairment characterized by an ability to use expressive spoken language that is markedly below the appropriate level for the mental age, but with a language comprehension that is within normal limits. There can be problems with vocabulary, producing complex sentences, and remembering words, and there may or may not be abnormalities in articulation.

Expressive language disorder is now classified as a specific language impairment or SLI, where a child has failed to acquire normal expressive language even though they have been adequately exposed to language and there is an absence of notable medical or genetic causes.

As well as present speech production, very often, someone will have difficulty remembering things. This memory problem is only disturbing for speech; non-verbal or non-linguistically based memory will be unimpaired. An example of a child with expressive language disorder can be seen here.

Expressive language disorder affects work and schooling in many ways. It is usually treated by specific speech therapy, and usually cannot be expected to go away on its own.

Expressive language disorder can be further classified into two groups: developmental expressive language disorder and acquired expressive language disorder. Developmental expressive language disorder currently has no known cause, is first observed when a child is learning to talk, is more common in boys than girls, and is much more common than the acquired form of the disorder. Acquired expressive language disorder is caused by specific damage to the brain by a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or seizures.

Care must be taken to distinguish expressive language disorder from other communication disorders, sensory-motor disturbances, intellectual disability and/or environmental deprivation (see DSM-IV-TR criterion D). These factors affect a person's speech and writing to certain predictable extents, and with certain differences.

Careful diagnosis is also important due to the fact that "atypical language development can be a secondary characteristic of other physical and developmental problems that may first manifest as language problems".

Read more about Expressive Language Disorder:  Models of Language Production, Association With Language Networks, Outcomes For Individuals With Expressive Language Disorder, Current Educational Interventions For Students With An SLI, Special Education Coding

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