As far as disorders go, thousands of people have to deal with them daily. There are disorders for nearly every facet of life, and many of them relate directly to how we communicate with one another. That being said, a relatively new disorder diagnosed is an expressive language disorder. Though this disorder is exceedingly hard to diagnose, it affects more people than we know. This type of disorder is harder to diagnose and treat than many other disorders that have been categorized.
Table of Contents
What is Expressive Language Disorder?
Before you ponder this disorder, you should know precisely what it is. Expressive language disorder is a communication disorder that affects both adults and children’s written and spoken ability to express themselves with words. This could mean something as simple as confusing the meaning of words to the point that it becomes hard to tell people what you are trying to say, to something as tricky as being unable to communicate your feelings. This disorder more commonly affects the verbal expression of feelings and ideas rather than written ones but can affect both.
With expressive language disorder, the ability to use explicit language in a spoken instance is far lower in mental age and mentality than that of the speaker. This means that the words and phrases used to relay information from one person to another will be far more rudimentary than the age of the person speaking. For example, someone with this disorder of thirty may use words and phrases that would be common with a ten-year-old. The disorder generally makes it difficult for the person affected to remember words, form complex sentences, or even remember what they are trying to say. This, however, does not affect their cognitive ability to understand what they are trying to say; it simply affects the delivery.
With this type of disorder, the effects can either be completed in the individual’s mind and their struggle to deal with it, or it can manifest into abnormalities in articulation that make it nearly impossible for the person affected to speak and relay information.
What is a Communication Disorder?
This is a disorder that falls under the classification of a communication disorder. That being said, to better understand expressive language disorder, it may be helpful first to understand what a communication disorder is. This disorder affects an individual’s ability to communicate, relay feelings or ideas, or understand another person’s communication. Some forms of autism fall under this definition, and many disorders that directly affect language, reading, and writing can also fall into this category. This type of disorder is generally more common than you might think and can be treated relatively easily with the proper care.
What Does it Affect?
There are a few different areas that this sort of communication disorder affects; the first is memory. Now memories not associated with speech or the ability to relay feelings with speech are not affected. This means you will remember how it felt when you first learned to ride a bike, but you will not be able to articulate the joy you felt if you were asked about it. This type of disorder also affects the ability of the individual to express emotion and how they feel. This can be very troubling for those with jobs where they need to speak to people often.
This disorder makes it difficult to attend school, perform satisfactorily, and hold a job without issue. Though this does affect your career and school, there are forms of therapy that can help keep the disorder under control. This type of communication disorder also makes it difficult to form and nurture relationships which may result in a child that does not have many friends and an adult that does not have an active romantic or social life.
Who Does it Affect?
This disorder can affect anyone. Though it is often not caught until later in life, it can affect children on a hazardous level. In most cases, this disorder manifests in children as a learning disability. Teachers may call home, stating that a child has trouble expressing ideas and feelings and that further evaluation may be necessary. That being said, in most cases, when this disorder is classified as a learning disorder, it becomes the burden of the parent to take the child for further evaluation. In most cases, this type of disorder will not be picked up on by anyone until the child begins to talk and be held accountable for higher-level communication.
This means that a child can struggle with this disorder undetected for years before being diagnosed or treated. That being said, in most cases, if the illness is caught early enough, the child can receive therapy to help deal with its issues. This disorder can also affect adults. In some rare cases, the condition will go undiagnosed until adulthood, affecting their ability to function properly in the outside world. In adults, the treatment is much the same as with children.
The disorder is most commonly observed when the child begins to talk and has trouble expressing themselves. This disorder more commonly affects boys than girls and has no known causes.
Types of Expressive Language Disorder
There are two different types of this disorder; the first is a developmental expressive language disorder. This is the form of the disorder most commonly picked up as the child begins to talk. This disorder is a disorder that more commonly affects boys than girls. This type of disorder needs to be handled very carefully. In some cases, brain injury, disorders, or other major health issues can lead to trouble speaking and expressing. If you feel your child has this disorder take the time to see a specialist. In many cases, atypical language development may signify something more serious. As such, you should take care to have this disorder professionally diagnosed as soon as possible.
The second form of the disorder is called acquired expressive language disorder. This form of the disorder is directly related to brain injury that causes damage to the part of the brain that is responsible for communication and speech. Something like a stroke or traumatic injury can lead to this disorder. Seizures can also be responsible for this form of the disorder. With this form of the disorder, there may be no natural way to deal with the issues it presents unless the damage to the brain is reversed.
Often, this type of disorder is paired with a secondary or primary disorder like ADHD or autism. In these cases, the primary disorder or complaint is taken care of rather than the secondary issue. If, for instance, a student is diagnosed with autism and expressive language disorder, the student would be cared for as if autism were the main issue. This means that teachers specifically trained to deal with and teach autistic students would help students who suffer from both. In many cases, students with this disorder are still treated as if they have a learning disability. Exceptional teachers are employed to ensure that they have a proper education and care while at school.
The main issue is effective instruction in literature. This means allowing these students to see how to express themselves in writing. This type of teaching is often a therapy that helps these students understand how they can express themselves. Teachers will be required to manipulate their classroom and curriculum to fit the students with this disorder to teach them effectively. There is no specific cure for this disorder in anyone, let alone students. That being said, there are some ways that students and adults alike can deal with this type of disorder.
Though there is no cure, there are therapies in place that can help these individuals learn how to communicate. In children and adults alike, speech therapy is a great way to know what phrases are associated with what and how they should be able to express themselves. The therapist also can teach individuals suffering from expressive language disorder how to cope with stress and situations in which the disorder becomes overwhelming. Coping mechanisms can help to reduce stress and make it easier for these individuals to stop and process what they are trying to say.
What is Being Done?
There are tons of researchers out there now that are working to decide just what causes this type of disorder and what can be done to remedy it. In cases where brain damage is to blame, it may be possible to repair the damaged areas of the brain to relay information better and improve expression. In those that have run into the disorder through natural development, there are now more therapies than ever to help deal with the side effects.
Though the focus is always on the cure, several prominent researchers are now focused on finding ways to improve the lives of those suffering from this and other communication disorders. With time and concentrated effort, cures will pop up and actually work, but at this time, efforts are still concentrated on helping those in need. If you believe that you or someone you know suffers from expressive language disorder or any other communication disorder, you should seek immediate help. In some cases, the sudden onset of these disorders can be a precursor to something more dangerous and deadly. You should use the utmost caution and get help. Living with expressive language disorder will never be easy, but it does not have to be impossible with the proper support and correct information.