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Expressive language disorder

(7 Posts)
Excusemyfrench Thu 02-Nov-17 08:10:59


I was told my son had an expressive language disorder yesterday. He is 3,5 years old and is a really happy loving boy who mainly struggles to form flowing sentences. He makes him self understood but it sounds telegrammatic and he often skips out certain words to facilitate the delivery of his sentence. There are a few other ' symptoms' he has but I think this is the main one.
His cognitive language is fine.

I stupidly googled the condition when I got home and am now so worried and overwhelmed.

Has anyone else been given a similar diagnosis?
Can you tell me a bit more about it please?

Any advice and information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you

Tainbri Thu 02-Nov-17 10:13:09

My son has a receptive language condition. He was non verbal until nearly five. The key is to get the SALT support - have you got follow ups booked? You'll need his pre school on board and start thinking about what he'll need for school now. (You might want to think about applying for an EHCP for example) in my son's case (which obviously doesn't mean it will be similar with your DS) it has affected his literacy and numeracy ability. He is cognitively able but has an EHCP because of this.

Excusemyfrench Mon 06-Nov-17 10:00:01

Hi @Tainbri

Thank you for your message and apologies it took so long to get back to you I was away until today.

How old is your son now? How is he doing?

The more I read about it all the more I realise how varied and diverse the conditions are.
We have SALT support on the nhs and we are starting privately this week. His pre school is amazing, and his teachers are all aware and working with us and his speech therapist and will recommend he gets extra help in school.

He understands everything but expresses himself in a clumsy manner. he uses 5-6 words sentences but will sometimes struggle to find the right words or get them mixed up. For example he gets breakfast / lunch and diner confused. He can tell colours apart but cannot remember which is which. He knows the information but sometimes cant retrieve it and then express it.

I would love to speak to another parent with a child with a similar disorder. I want to help him as best as I can and build some sort of support for us all.

Thank you

Tainbri Wed 08-Nov-17 19:33:41

My son is very similar! He's 12 now and at a specialist school. What you describe (from my experience as a parent) is also semantic and working memory issues. My son struggles with memory recall, for example he will know what he wants to say but can't articulate because he struggles to recall the right words. He struggled when he was little to understand the difference between letters and numbers, he still gets confused between say 13 and 30 as to him it has no meaning and sounds the same, he struggled to understand the link between capital letters and lower case letters, all of this seemed to stem from profound phonological awareness struggles (he can not understand or recognise rhyme for example) but as I say, cognitively within normal range!! It's very strange and I never appreciated the complexity of language until the struggles of my son as it's always seemed so automatic! A good SALT will help you to understand how to support and hopefully will point you in the right direction for other help with education too.

Ellie56 Sat 25-Nov-17 17:35:56

Our second son was referred to SLT at the age of 3 and was diagnosed with a "severe and complex language disorder" at the age of 4. This was both expressive and receptive language.

DS2 could barely string a sentence together and a lot of what he said was complete gobbledygook with the occasional recognisable word. I remember once hearing a much younger child say to his mum, "What are they doing?"and it struck me then that DS2 had never asked a question in his life.

Half the time we struggled to understand what he was trying to tell us. Frequently he cried himself to sleep because he couldn't get through to us. And the despair I felt at not being able to get through to him was indescribable. It was as though there was an invisible brick wall between us and I just felt so useless.

DS2'S receptive language too was extremely poor. He didn't get excited about Christmas because he had no understanding of what Christmas was, so on Christmas Eve he just went to sleep as normal. How do you explain about Father Christmas and presents to a child without understanding?

And we had a lot of behaviour problems as a result of his frustrations at not being able to communicate. Some of his behaviour was so bizarre, we were convinced he was autistic. At that point I couldn't see how he could ever go to a mainstream school.

The key to everything was the intensive support and intervention that was put in early. He had a Statement of Special Educational Needs (now EHCP) while he was still at nursery school, which provided for at least 15 hours 1:1 support and this transferred to infant school. He had intensive speech and language therapy with a specialist therapist for several months. The Speech and Language Therapist went into school to work with him directly, and gave the TA tasks to carry out each week. DS2 was eager to learn and responded well to all the support he was given.

By the time he was 6, DS2's language was age appropriate, he was doing better than most of the other children in his class, and his Statement ended. The following Christmas when he was 7, he was given the part of Joseph in the Y2 Nativity play, which was a major speaking part.

DS2 is now 24 and a graduate from Manchester University.

Excusemyfrench Tue 12-Dec-17 11:16:34

Dear @Ellie56,

I apologise for not getting back to you sooner, I dont get a notification on my post and as it had gone quite for a few days I assumed it was 'gone' and forgot to check.

Thank you so much for your post, what a journey you have been through.
You brought tears to my eyes with your invisible brick metaphor as I do feel similar with my little boy at times. I am so pleased to hear yours is now thriving and happy.
The most overwhelming part about all this for me as how varied these conditions are and how there seem to be no telling how they will evolve.

We have been referred to Early years planning and review meeting and he has had a block of speech therapy and is due another one in the new year. He has 1.1 time once a week with the pre school manager for 30 mins and she has assured me he would get support at school from the TA and the teacher.
How does one get support from the EHCP? I recently filled in his school application and ticked the special needs box (as suggested by the pre school manager), will that start the process?

I have called numerous private Speech therapist and asked their advice and they all seem to say that the block offered by the NHS would be sufficient. That the real work is at home. Talking to him, repeating helping string sentences, playing games, supporting him when he cant remember things, encouraging him, building his confidence, little tv and Ipad time etc and that all this would be sufficient until his next block of ST. A block by the way is 30 mins, once a week, for 5 weeks.

So Ive been doing that. And where he had developed nervous ticks such as tapping his head and saying ' Come on think think think' when he couldn't find an answer or a word quick enough, he has completely stopped doing that. His tantrums are fewer and he seems happy as ever, but I dont know if Im doing enough.

I have noticed now that he struggles with the concept of time. 1 second and 1 week is not different to him. Other little things like that have started to appear but at the same time he is still so little ( he turn 4 this month) I dont know what is a sign of 'problems' to come and what is a sign of just being little and needing a little extra time to grasp concepts. Its very hard not to scrutinise everything.

When he wants to say something he can say it. For example, Im cold, Im tired, I dont like this game and X is annoying me. But also sometimes he will also just say things for the sake of it and babble. If asked how was your day he will just invent, and list the things around him ' babble babble, the car, babble the sky and a dog outside babble, preschool day and babble' it makes no sense.

He is eager to learn has a good concentration and is a wonderful boy to be around, I just dont know where all this is going to go, if Im doing enough, if all the support that is in place is enough.

I cant imagine how proud you must have been during that Christmas play after years of struggling to communicate, you must have been overwhelmed with happiness.
Thank you for sharing your story.

If anyone else has any insight on this condition or can suggest anything else I could do to help I would be most grateful.

Thank you

Ellie56 Wed 13-Dec-17 19:09:56

Some good ideas were posted on this thread last week:

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