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Childhood Speech and Language Delays

Learn the common causes and indications of speech and language delays, the importance of early intervention, and tips to promote your child's speech and language development.

Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Delay

This is a video I took of my son to show an example of a child with Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Delay and Phonological Delay.

Christian (my son) will be 4 yrs old in less than a month, and was diagnosed with both of these delays a year ago shortly after he turned 3. Back then he could hardly talk at all and couldn't name objects when asked what they were. For instance, his speech pathologist asked him to show her the window, and he couldn't even point out the window. He isn't able to pronounce letters that other kids his age are able to. Also, he doesn't understand a lot of things people say to him like other kids his age would...such as simple questions or instructions. He has now been in speech therapy for 1 yr now, as well as preschool, and has progressed SO much. However, as you can see in the video, he still trouble with his ABC's and understanding spoken language.

Notice in the video how he doesn't understand the simple questions I am asking him or follow simple instructions, and still can't recite his ABC's by himself. He also still has alot of trouble with colors. I hope this video can be helpful to others who are having trouble identifying whats wrong with their child's speech. I was at a complete loss in the beginning but I always knew something was wrong when he didn't seem to understand what I was saying to him. Early intervention is the key, and I absolutely LOVE Christian's speech therapy team that's working with him. He has come such a long way!

Expressive Language Disorder - Sariah age 10

Expressive language disorder occurs when an individual has problems expressing him or herself using spoken language.

Expressive language disorder is generally a childhood disorder. There are two types of expressive language disorder: the developmental type and the acquired type. Developmental expressive language disorder does not have a known cause and generally appears at the time a child is learning to talk. Acquired expressive language disorder is caused by damage to the brain. It occurs suddenly after events such as stroke or traumatic head injury. The acquired type can occur at any age.

Causes and symptoms
There is no known cause of developmental expressive language disorder. Research is ongoing to determine which biological or environmental factors may be the cause. Acquired expressive language disorder is caused by damage to the brain. Damage can be sustained during a stroke, or as the result of traumatic head injury, seizures, or other medical conditions. The way in which acquired expressive language disorder manifests itself in a specific person depends on which parts of the brain are injured and how badly they are damaged.

Expressive language disorder is characterized by a child having difficulty expressing him- or herself using speech. The signs and symptoms vary drastically from child to child. The child does not have problems with the pronunciation of words, as occurs in phonological disorder. The child does have problems putting sentences together coherently, using proper grammar, recalling the appropriate word to use, or other similar problems. A child with expressive language disorder is not able to communicate thoughts, needs, or wants at the same level or with the same complexity as his or her peers. The child often has a smaller vocabulary than his or her peers.

Children with expressive language disorder have the same ability to understand speech as their peers, and have the same level of intelligence. Therefore, a child with this disorder may understand words that he or she cannot use in sentences. The child may understand complex spoken sentences and be able to carry out intricate instructions, although he or she cannot form complex sentences.

There are many different ways in which expressive language disorder can manifest itself. Some children do not properly use pronouns, or leave out functional words such as "is" or "the." Other children cannot recall words that they want to use in the sentence and substitute general words such as "thing" or "stuff." Some children cannot organize their sentences so that the sentences are easy to understand. These children do comprehend the material they are trying to express—they just cannot create the appropriate sentences with which to express their thoughts.


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