Expressive Language Disorder

Expressive Language Disorder

In the Expressive language disorder, the capacity for the expression of oral language appears markedly lower than the level appropriate to the mental age of the subject, maintaining normal language comprehension. It is shown by language acquisition delays as absence of simple words around two years of age and failure to elaborate simple two-word phrases about 3 years.

There is a limitation of vocabulary, small number of words, too short sentences, simplified grammatical structures, omissions of critical parts of the sentences, or unusual word order.


  • 1 Etiology of expressive language disorder
  • 2 Associated Disorders
  • 3 Prevalence of expressive language disorder
  • 4 Start and Course of the disorder
  • 5 Family pattern
  • 6 Differential diagnosis of expressive language disorder

Etiology of expressive language disorder

There are two modalities of this disorder based on its etiology:

Evolutionary, when the subject does not reach the level corresponding to his mental age, in the course of his development, and Acquired, when after having developed a level of normal expressive language, there is a loss of abilities, due to some cause (trauma, disease, etc.)

Associated disorders

It is frequently associated with the Phonological Disorder. They are also frequent in the acquired type, motor joint anomalies, phonological errors, slow speech, syllabic repetitions and monotonous intonation and accentuation patterns. At school age, school problems usually occur. Mild changes in receptive language and motor delays, enuresis or Coordination Disorder are frequent. Social withdrawal is frequently associated with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and changes in the E.E. G. and other neurological signs.

Prevalence of expressive language disorder

It is estimated that between 3% and 5% of children have the disorder in the evolutionary type, with the frequency being lower in the acquired type. It is more common in men than in women.

Start and Course of the disorder

It is usually identified towards 3 years in the evolutionary type. The acquired type begins suddenly as a result of physical injuries, so it depends on their occurrence.

Family pattern

Apparently, it is more frequent in relatives of people who suffer from Communication or Learning Disorders, in the evolutionary type.

Differential diagnosis of expressive language disorder

The distinction of the Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder is made by the important changes in receptive language that occur in the latter.

It differs from Autistic Disorder because it appears repetitive and stereotyped behaviors, and alterations in social interaction.

The differential diagnosis with Cognitive Deficit, hearing deficit, or other sensory deficits is established through intelligence, audiometric or other tests. With Selective Mutism through an accurate medical history and careful observation. With Acquired Aphasia because in it the symptoms remit with physical recovery.