Expressive language therapy
xpressive language therapy is used to support children who struggle to use words and language appropriately to express their thoughts and feelings. Expressive language skills include being able to label objects, describe actions and events and put words together to form sentences that are grammatically correct. Children need to put sentences together in the right order to be able to tell a story.
Who is suitable for expressive language therapy?
Expressive language therapy is suitable for any child who has difficulty with spoken language. Some conditions that expressive language therapy may be suitable for include:
How to spot a child who needs expressive language therapy
Children who struggle with using their words and language appropriately or children who would benefit from expressive language therapy can often present with the following:
- Difficulty naming items and objects.
- Does not link words together or may use sentences that are shorter than those used by children of the same age.
- Uses sentences that are not grammatically correct and therefore can sound immature.
- May use jargon (made up words) when talking.
- Speaks in sentences that are ‘jumbled’ (i.e. words are in the wrong order, lots of stopping and starting, creating a lack of flow).
- Can be misunderstood by unfamiliar people.
- May have difficulty finding the correct words to use when describing something or when having a conversation. The child may use techniques such as ‘circumlocution’ (talking around the word) or using a word with a similar meaning to help them express themselves.
- Difficulty retelling a story.
What’s involved in expressive Language therapy?
Expressive language therapy would involve working on improving your child’s specific difficulties. Activities carried out would vary according to your child’s abilities, needs and would incorporate their goals and interests in order to make therapy motivating, fun and appealing.
If a young child was struggling to express their thoughts and feelings because they had limited vocabulary, the speech and language therapist may choose to use a technique called focused stimulation (using the word multiple times in a short period of time). The speech and language therapist may choose to use techniques such as word maps with older children.
As well as working with the child, the speech and language therapist may choose to work with parents and teachers to change the child’s communicative environment as well as changing the way parents and teachers use their language around the child.
Benefits of expressive language therapy
Expressive language therapy can prove beneficial to a child who struggles with expressing spoken language. Benefits include:
- Improved ability to express thoughts, feelings, ideas and wants.
- Increase in ability to tell stories and retell events to others.
- Increased participation in group discussions.
- Increase in skills to answer questions with appropriate responses.
- Increased use of a range of sentence types and structures.
- Increased vocabulary.
- Development of Augmentative and Alternative Communication such as signing, visuals or tech deceives to increase communication ability.
- Reduced frustration.
- Increase in self-esteem.
- Increased social communication and social interaction.
- Increased access to learning.
Expressive language therapy can have a range of benefits for your child. It can help provide them with the skills they need to better express their thoughts and feelings to others around them.