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Expressive Language Disorder in Adults

Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that there are two different types of expressive language disorders? In this lesson we will define expressive language disorder, discuss its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Expressive Language Disorder?

Ron is a 35-year-old avid skier. Every year Ron takes a trip to the Colorado mountains to go ski. During his most recent trip, Ron accidentally took a sharp turn on a slope and hit his head on the trunk of a large tree. Ron woke up three days later in the hospital, where he was told that she suffered a traumatic brain injury.

Ron's doctor asked him a series of questions. Though Ron could understand the doctor perfectly, Ron had trouble responding. Ron found it very difficult to carry on a conversation with his doctor, struggled to find the right words to use with when speaking, and had trouble forming complete, grammatically correct sentences. Ron was later examined by a speech therapist who diagnosed him with expressive language disorder, which is a communication disorder that is characterized by impairment in the ability to communicate with others using language.

Expressive language disorder can impact our relationships with others, as well as our functioning at work and school. Expressive language disorder does not influence your ability to understand what others are trying to communicate to you, it just impairs your ability to communicate messages to other people. Expressive language disorder also does not influence your intellectual abilities.

What Causes Expressive Language Disorder in Adults?

• There are two types of expressive language disorder. Developmental expressive language disorder occurs in children and shows up around the same time period that children first learn to talk. Ron has acquired expressive language disorder, which is caused by damage to the brain. Whenever expressive language disorder first appears in adulthood and there was normal language development in childhood, it is acquired. In Ron's case, it was a traumatic brain injury that led to his acquired expressive language disorder. Other conditions that can cause acquired expressive language disorder include a stroke, brain tumor, and seizures.

What are the Symptoms of Expressive Language Disorder in Adults?

Ron displayed many symptoms of expressive language disorder including, difficulty finding the right words to communicate meaning, incorrect grammar, and trouble carrying a conversation with others. Other symptoms of expressive language disorder include:

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