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Communication disorders

Expressive Language Issues: What You’re Seeing

By The Understood Team

172Found this helpful

Kids with expressive language issues can have trouble making conversation. They may understand what other people say and can pronounce words, but still struggle to express themselves. Here are signs of expressive language issues.

172Found this helpful
Expressive Language Issues: What You're Seeing

Kids with expressive language issues can have trouble with conversation and self-expression. Here are signs you might notice. If you’re concerned, talk to your child’s doctor about what you’re seeing.

Speaks Vaguely
At home: Your child uses the words “stuff” and “things” a lot.
At school: When he answers questions in class, he tends to repeat the teacher’s words.
The issue: Kids with expressive language issues often have below-average vocabulary skills and rely on familiar phrases.

Is Very Quiet
At home: Your child doesn’t chat much with friends.
At school: Your child rarely raises his hand or speaks up class.
The issue: Kids with expressive language issues can be withdrawn because it’s so difficult for them to express their thoughts and feelings.

Is Hard to Understand
At home: Your child hangs on every word of a book you read to him, but he can’t talk coherently about it.
At school: Your child makes frequent errors when speaking, such as leaving out pronouns or verbs.
The issue: Children with expressive language issues tend to jumble tenses and drop words, so their sentences don’t make sense.
Graphic of Expressive Language Issues: What You're Seeing
Graphic of Expressive Language Issues: What You're Seeing

About the Author

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Sheldon Horowitz

Sheldon H. Horowitz, Ed.D., is senior director of learning resources and research at the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

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