Expressive communication is the ability to use communication both written and verbally in order to express your ideas, feelings and thoughts. A disruption to expressive communication is known as an expressive communication problem. Speech and language therapy is highly beneficial for children with expressive communication problems, in helping to develop, improve and support their communication.
What is an expressive problem?
An expressive problem is a difficulty in communicating effectively via spoken or written communication (or a combination of both).
A child with an expressive problem will have a difficulty in their use of verbal or written expression (or a combination of both). This can be either disordered or delayed.
Delayed expressive communication is when a child acquires language in the same sequence but at a slower rate than their typically developing peers.
Disordered expressive communication is when a child is significantly slow to develop language and the sequence of development is different to what is normally expected.
A child with an expressive problem will present with a difficulty in spoken and / written language. A child with an expressive problem may have difficulties in acquiring spoken language at the normal rate of development and in using vocabulary (the number of words the child knows and says). A child with an expressive problem will usually have a more limited vocabulary than their typically developing peers.
A child with an expressive problem may also experience difficulty in recalling words, use of grammar and putting words and sentences together (syntax) in order to express what they are thinking. Written communication may also be affected in a similar way.
In more severe cases the child may have very limited use of expressive communication and may be non-verbal (not able to speak).
Having an expressive problem may affect the child's ability to appropriately use language in a variety of settings and with different people e.g. at home or school and with teachers or parents.
What causes expressive problems?
The exact cause of expressive problems are unknown and are often caused by a combination of factors, these may include;
- Developmental delay in communication
- Developmental disorders e.g. Down Syndrome
- Autistic spectrum disorder
- Specific language impairment
- Brain damage
- Neurological conditions e.g. cerebral palsy
- Hearing loss and impairments
What problems caused by expressive problems can speech and language therapy help with?
Speech and language therapy can help with the following difficulties, which may contribute or be a result of expressive problems:
- Attention and listening problems
- expressive language problems
- Receptive language problems
- speech sound problems
- communication problems
- Language delay and impairment
- Social communication problems
How is an expressive problem diagnosed?
An assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will determine whether your child has an expressive problem. An initial assessment will involve the following:
- A general discussion with you about your child's expressive problems and any concerns you may have.
- A case history of your child's development.
- An observation of your child's play and language skills.
- A more detailed assessment of your child's use of expressive language e.g. asking your child to name pictures and assessing your child's use of grammar and sentence structure.
How does speech and language therapy help expressive problems?
Speech and language therapy can help to improve on many aspects of your child's expressive problems. It has been found that early intervention is beneficial for children with expressive problems.
Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise your child's expressive communication and help your child to communicate as effectively as possible.
Specific aims of speech and language therapy may include, increasing your child's vocabulary, expanding your child's use of language and helping your child to appropriately structure words and sentences. Speech and language therapy will also work on your child's understanding of words and sentences.
In more severe cases, where a child's speech and language is very limited, the speech and language therapist may introduce alternative and augmentative communication i.e. the use of communication aids.
What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with expressive problems involve?
The speech and language therapist will carry out a detailed assessment of your child's speech and language abilities. This assessment will help to determine what the best treatment option will be for your child's specific communication needs. Treatment at speech and language therapy may involve:
- One to One Therapy
- Clinic Visits
- Home Visits
- alternative and augmentative communication
- advice and education
An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our Speech and Language Therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve.
How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment for expressive problems?
To arrange an assessment with one our speech and language therapists please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 0885 643.
The effects of expressive communication problems will be dependent on the individual child and a lot of other factors. Speech and language therapy will aim to maximise your child's expressive communication to their highest potential in their home, school and social environments. If you feel you and your child would benefit from any of the above services for speech and language therapy then please do not hesitate to email email@example.com or call 0330 0885 643.
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