Expressive Language Disorder
Expressive language disorder occurs when a child has problems with all aspects of producing spoken
and written language.
The disorder is generally either developmental or acquired. Acquired
expressive language difficulty can manifest after a trauma such as brain injury or from a
With developmental expressive language difficulty, there is no known cause, though research
does point to a genetic connection in some cases.
Symptoms are many and varied and each child presents with different problems. Some of
the more common symptoms though are:
- Poor semantic knowledge, or word/world knowledge.
- Difficulty with syntax and grammatical rules in spoken and
- Sentences are often short and lack detail.
- An inability to be economical with language. Individuals often use extraneous or imprecise
words, and fail to make their point.
- Difficulty in recounting a story or narrative.
Diagnosis for expressive language difficulty is generally performed by
speech-language pathologists. Speech-Language Pathologists use standardised language assessments that
specifically target a child's ability to formulate thoughts into sentences,
with correct grammar use.
An enormous amount of information can be gathered in an informal way by
simply talking with a child with language disorder, and also asking him/her to read a short storybook and ask them to retell the story.. This generally occurs in a friendly and relatively
stress free setting.
The child's ability to respond to questions, and how much information
they can produce is noted and and recorded.
Intervention is traditionally performed one-to-one between the speech-language pathologist
and the child, with therapy targeting the child's language deficits.
activities, that feature several students, is also a useful treatment
method that can produce good results.
Kaderavek, J.N. (2011) Language Disorders in Children: Fundamental Concepts of Assessment and Intervention, Allyn & Bacon
Paul, R. (2006) Language Disoders from Infancy through Adolescence. Assessment and Intervention. Mosby
Content updated 8/11
Return from expressive language disorder to language disorder.