Expressive Speech Disorder

What is an Expressive Speech Disorder?

A pronounced impairment in the development of speech, which cannot be explained by mental retardation, inadequate instruction, and which is not associated with a general developmental disorder, hearing impairment, or a neurological disorder. This is a specific developmental disorder in which the child’s ability to use expressive spoken language is noticeably lower than the level corresponding to his mental age. Understanding speech within normal limits.


The frequency of expressive speech disorders ranges from 3 to 10% in school children. 2-3 times more common in boys than in girls. More common among children with a family history of articulation disorders or other developmental disorders.

Causes of Expressive Speech Disorder

The cause of the development of expressive speech is unknown. Minimal cerebral dysfunction or delayed formation of functional neuronal systems are put forward as possible causes. The presence of a family history indicates the genetic determinism of this disorder. The neuropsychological mechanism of the disorder may be associated with the kinetic component, with an interest in the process of premotor parts of the brain or posterior frontal structures; with the lack of formation of the nominative function of speech or the lack of formation of the spatial representation of speech (temporal-parietal sections and the parieto-temporal-occipital intersection) under the condition of normal left hemisphere localization of speech centers and impaired functioning in the left hemisphere.

Symptoms of Expressive Speech Disorder

Severe forms of the disorder usually occur up to 3 years. The absence of separate word formations – by 2 and simple sentences and phrases by 3 years – is a sign of delay. Later violations – limited vocabulary development, the use of a small set of template words, difficulties in choosing synonyms, abbreviated pronunciation, immature sentence structure, syntax errors, omissions of verbal endings, prefixes, improper use of prepositions, pronouns, conjugations, declensions of verbs, nouns. Lack of fluidity in presentation, lack of consistency in presentation and retelling. Understanding speech is not difficult. Adequate use of non-verbal remarks, gestures, and a desire for communication are characteristic. Articulation is usually immature. There may be compensatory emotional reactions in relationships with peers, behavioral disorders, and inattention. A disorder in the development of coordination and functional enuresis are often associated disorders.

Diagnosing Expressive Speech Disorders

Indicators of expressive speech are significantly lower than indicators obtained by non-verbal intellectual abilities (non-verbal part of the Wexler test).

The disorder significantly impedes success in school and everyday life, requiring verbal expression.

Not associated with general developmental disorders, hearing impairment, or neurological disorder.

Differential diagnosis

It should be carried out with mental retardation, which is characterized by a complete violation of intelligence in the verbal and nonverbal sphere; with general developmental disorders, which are characterized by the absence of an internal language of a symbolic or imaginary game, inadequate use of gestures and inability to maintain warm social relations.

With acquired aphasia or dysphasia, normal speech development is characteristic before trauma or other neurological disorders.

Expressive Speech Disorder Treatment

Preferred speech and family therapy. Speech therapy includes mastery of phonemes, vocabulary, and construction of sentences. If there are signs of a secondary or concomitant disorder in the sphere of behavior or emotions, medication and psychotherapy are indicated.

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