Expressive Language Disorder: Causes, Prevention & Treatment

Expressive Language Disorder in a One Year Old

Communication delays in children can present themselves early on. Parents can familiarize themselves with the signs of expressive language disorder in toddlers so that they can get proper and timely treatment for their children. Get to know the different aspects of this disorder and help your toddler overcome it.

Parenting comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. Aside from making sure your child is properly fed and clothed, you need to look after his health and development. A small percentage of children have what’s known as expressive language disorder. If your 1-year-old is exhibiting delayed communication skills, it’s worthwhile to know about this disorder and get him examined.

What is Expressive Language Disorder in Toddlers

Expressive language disorder is a condition that usually occurs when a child has trouble expressing himself using spoken language. He may have difficulty remembering words as well. It’s generally a childhood disorder and affects between 10-15 percent of children under three years of age. 3-7 percent of school-age children deal with language delay issues. It’s 2-5 five times more common in boys than in girls.

Types of Expressive Language Disorder

1. Developmental Type

In the development type, the disorder presents itself as a child is learning to speak. To date, there’s no known cause.

2. Acquired Type

Language delay in toddlers can happen due to a head injury, a seizure or similar reasons.

Causes of Expressive Language Disorder

There aren’t always specific causes of expressive language disorder. While acquired expressive language disorder is due to an injury or a medical condition, the developmental type can manifest on its own.

Symptoms of Expressive Language Disorder:

  • Difficulty in expressing himself using speech
  • Problems in putting sentences together
  • Improper use of grammar (in older children)
  • Smaller vocabulary than peers
  • Inability to use pronouns and functional words
  • Hearing impairment: Often a child suffering from a hearing impairment shows similar symptoms. Providing him with a hearing aid may help resolve the problem.


The diagnosis of expressive language disorder in a 15-month old baby or a 1-year-old is done using the following criteria. It may be used to diagnose older children as well.

  • Lower than expected speech development in the child
  • Lower intelligence level
  • Inability to understand spoken language

Expressive Language Disorder Treatment in Children

  • Engaging a speech therapist where the child is made to practice speech and communication skills on a daily basis
  • Parents and teachers work together to teach the child how to speak through everyday activities and play such as block-building.

Preventing Language Disorders in Toddlers

While there’s no specific method for preventing language disorders of the developmental kind, the acquired type can be guarded against by giving importance to child safety. Have your toddler wear a helmet while on a bicycle to prevent head injuries of any kind. Plan a healthy, balanced diet and keep him away from high cholesterol foods.

Keeping a keen eye on your growing child can help you notice developmental delays and medical conditions sooner. While language disorders can be worrisome, it’s important to remember that not all children develop at the same pace. Even so, knowing how to help a child with expressive language disorder can equip you with vital knowledge.
Has your child begun to communicate more or have you noticed a delay?

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