Expressive language problems

How we can help people with expressive language problems

Expressive language is the ability to communicate a message or thought via verbal, non-verbal or written forms of communication. Expressive language problems will occur as a result of a breakdown in this type of communication.

What is an expressive language problem?

An expressive language problem is a difficulty in expressing a message effectively via verbal, non-verbal or written communication.

An individual with an expressive language problem will have difficulty in effectively expressing their messages and thoughts to others.

Expressive language problems can affect both children and adults and can vary from mild to severe forms. In more severe cases an individual may be completely non-verbal (unable to speak).

Common characteristics of expressive language problems can include:

What conditions can cause expressive language problems?

There are many conditions which can cause expressive language problems. Conditions in adults which may cause expressive language problems include:

How is an expressive language problem diagnosed?

An expressive language problem will be diagnosed by a speech and language therapist. The speech and language therapist will work closely with a team of professionals when diagnosing an individual with an expressive language problem. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will help to determine if an individual has an expressive language problem. This assessment will also help to decide on what the best form of treatment for the individual will be.

How can speech and language therapy help an individual with expressive language problems?

Speech and language therapy can help to support or overcome expressive language problems. Expressive language problems can be very responsive to speech and language therapy. The main aim of speech and language therapy will be to maximise the individual’s communicative abilities.

Speech and language therapy will differ for each individual depending on their specific speech, language and communication needs. The speech and language therapist will consider many factors when considering a treatment plan, including the individual’s current and past communicative abilities and also the underlying cause of their expressive language problems.

The speech and language therapist will work closely with the individual, their parent or carer and other professionals involved in their care in helping them meet their full communicative potential.

What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit expressive language problems?

There are many forms of speech and language therapy for individuals with expressive language problems. The speech and language therapist will consider many factors when individualising a treatment plan for an individual with an expressive language problem.

Different types of speech and language therapy for individual with expressive language problems can include:

Training

Training involves training for individuals, parents, carers and other professionals involved in the individual’s care, regarding their speech, language and communication needs.

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Consultative role

A consultative role will include advice and support for the individual, their parents, carers and other professionals involved in their care regarding their speech, language and communication needs. The speech and language therapist may also provide information on compensatory strategies for the patient and their carer or parent to help support and maximise their communicative abilities.

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Home programmes

Home programmes will include take home activities, which will help the patient and their parents or carers practise skills learnt in therapy. The speech and language therapist can provide home programmes on communication, for parents, carers and the individual, in helping them to maximise their communicative ability. School programmes can also be given to help support the individual in their educational environment.

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One to one therapy

One to one therapy will provide intensive one to one treatment for the individual. One to one therapy will work on individual tasks in helping to maximise the individual’s communication. One to one therapy can include receptive tasks, which work on the individual’s understanding of spoken language. One to one therapy may also work on expressive tasks, which work on the individual’s expressive communication including gesture and writing.

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Total communication

A total communication approach works on all available communicative forms the patient has including, verbal, written and non-verbal communication.

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Group therapy

Group therapy is where the individual and other clients with similar difficulties receive therapy together. Group therapy can often help in later stages of therapy and increase the individual’s motivation, social skills and also help generalise the skills learnt in one to one therapy.

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Augmentative and Alternative Communication

Augmentative and Alternative Communication systems will be used for patients with severe communication problems, or if the patient is non-verbal. Examples of alternative forms of communication include, alphabet charts, sign language and hi-tech voice aids.

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Speech and language therapy may also include the following:

Summary

An expressive language problem is a difficulty in expressing a thought or message via expressive communication (verbal, non-verbal or written). The speech and language therapist will support the individual, their carer and other professionals involved in their care in helping maximise their communicative ability.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 088 5643.

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