The language and communication skills development are one of the most important tasks of early childhood. This is the key to early learning and social skills. Expression disorder or expressive language delay means that children find it challenging to provide information through speech and other forms of communication. They may find it challenging to express themselves through body language, sign and writing, and speech.
Some children with delayed expressive speech “catch up” in preschool age (“late-blooming”), while others have a persistent delay. Early assessment can help to correctly identify children who speak late and who will benefit from intervention and/or additional evaluation. Developmental histories, psychosocial and family history are especially important. Most children with speech retardation have no associated physical or medical or physical, but the absence of such findings should not delay referral for functional assessment of anticipated delay.
Signs of Expressive Speech Disorder
When children have speech delays, they usually find it difficult to put words into sentences or phrases correctly. For example, they might not use the correct tense at the right tense, or accidentally exclude important words from a sentence. They often speak in much shorter sentences and phrases than other children of their age and use less vocabulary. Here are some of the problems that children with this disorder usually face.
Correct use of adjectives: Kids with this kind of language delay also find it difficult to use descriptors correctly. Words, for example, adjectives and adverbs, are used to make the language more understandable and interesting.
Consistency: Children with expressive language problems often find it difficult to arrange their language in a logical order. They will find it difficult to put events in the correct order when they retell a story or when they struggle to arrange the steps of action correctly.
Mutism: Many children with speech retardation refuse to speak under certain conditions. Selective mutism means that a child can speak, but cannot talk in an environment such as school or the public. In some situations, they will still talk, such as when they are at home.
Vocabulary: Limited vocabulary can make it difficult for children with speech delays to say what they want to say. They are likely to need more help to learn new words than other children and may find it difficult to memorize the right words.
Social skills: Many children with an expressive language delay also have problems with social skills, sometimes called pragmatics. They may not know how to use language to communicate appropriately with other children.
Sometimes problems with expressive speech begin at birth as a developmental problem. In other cases, the disorder is acquired at a later age, when normal development has already occurred. Trauma can cause problems with expressive speech, such as a blow to the head. Health problems can also cause delayed speech expression.
What should you do next?
A diagnosis in itself is not a solution. It simply opens the door to the assistance needed by arming all participants with the appropriate information. If based on the above symptoms, you think your child has an expressive language delay disorder, and you should take him or her to a doctor or speech therapist for a diagnosis. As a parent, you should also consult with an audiologist to have his hearing checked.
You do not need a referral from a doctor to make an appointment. A speech therapist will conduct an examination to find out what types of speech used are difficult for your child. These assessments of expressive language delay activities are quick and easy and will help you learn how to move forward.
Expressive language milestones and activities
The main goals of therapy are to teach children strategies for understanding spoken language and developing appropriate communication behavior, as well as helping parents learn how to develop their children’s communication skills.
Speech therapy approaches and interventions that can help a child with speech retardation or their caregivers include:
Daily Activities: Providing strategies and tips for families to use in their daily activities and routines at home to help develop communication skills.
Comprehension of words and language: Using of words and language, social communication, pronunciation and speaking, and pre-literacy skills where appropriate.
Step-by-Step Goals: Set small, step-by-step goals that are achievable and show the child’s progress in specific skill areas.
Visual information: the inclusion of additional visual information through a more formalized system of gestures, images and/or symbols to facilitate understanding and use of the language where needed.
Communication Strategies: Work with the parent to develop goals and strategies to help develop communication areas that the child has difficulty with.
Positive reinforcement: Providing plenty of positive reinforcement and support throughout therapy to help build self-confidence and self-esteem.
Speech and Language Assessment: A thorough analysis and identification of the child’s strengths and weaknesses in all areas of communication, including play and interactive skills, attention and listening. Each child has a unique language profile that can be influenced by the language spoken at home, cultural background and family constellations. These factors are significant to consider when developing an intervention plan.
If you notice that your child is lagging behind in his or her expressive language skills, contact Absolute Synergy for a language assessment. Our speech therapists can formally assess your child’s expressive language skills, formulate age-appropriate milestones and goals, and design speech therapy goals for expressive language delay that is unique to your child’s needs.