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Expressive language disorder - developmental
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Expressive language disorder - developmental

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Language disorder - expressive

Developmental expressive language disorder is a condition in which a child has lower than normal ability in vocabulary, producing complex sentences, and remembering words. However, children with this disorder may have the normal language skills needed to understand verbal or written communication.

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  • Causes

    Approximately 3 - 10% of all school-age children have expressive language disorder. It is a pretty common issue in children.

    The causes of this disorder are not well understood. Damage to the cerebrum of the brain and malnutrition may cause some cases. Genetic factors may also be involved.

  • Symptoms

    • Below-average vocabulary skills
    • Improper use of tenses (past, present, future)
    • Problems making complex sentences
    • Problems remembering words
  • Exams and Tests

    Standardized expressive language and nonverbal intellectual tests should be conducted if an expressive language disorder is suspected. Testing for other learning disabilities may also be needed.

  • Treatment

    Language therapy is the best method to treat this type of disorder. The goal of this therapy is to increase the number of phrases a child can use. This is done by using block-building techniques and speech therapy.

  • Outlook (Prognosis)

    How much the child recovers depends on the severity of the disorder. With reversible factors, such as vitamin deficiencies, there may be nearly full recovery.

    Children who do not have any other developmental or motor coordination problems have the best outlook (prognosis). Often, such children have a family history of delays in language milestones, but eventually catch up.

  • Possible Complications

    • Learning problems
    • Low self-esteem
    • Social problems
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

    If you are concerned about a child's language development, have the child tested.

  • Prevention

    Good nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood and prenatal care may help. Other methods of prevention are unknown.

Related Information

     

References

Simms MD. Language disorders in children: classification and clinical syndromes. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2007;54(3):437-467.

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Review Date: 6/12/2012  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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