Expressive language disorder (DSM 315.31) is a communication disorder which is characterised by having a limited vocabulary and grasp of grammar (especially with tense and time words). It is a general language impairment that puts the person out of the general level for his/her age and onto the level of a younger or less linguistically developed person.
As well as present speech production, very often, someone will have difficulty remembering things. This memory problem is only disturbing for speech; non-verbal or non-linguistically based memory will be unimpaired.
There must be a gap between their receptive (understanding, listening and writing) functioning and their expressive functioning, that is they have more difficulty speaking and writing than the average person their age and general developmental level.
Expressive language disorder affects work and schooling in many ways. It is usually treated by specific speech therapy, and usually cannot be expected to go away on its own.
Care must be taken to distinguish expressive language disorder from other communication disorders, sensory-motor disturbances, intellectual disability and/or environmental deprivation (see DSM-IV-TR criterion D). These factors affect a person's speech and writing to certain predictable extents, and with certain differences.
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