Implications for the Classroom
Expressive language disorder may present slightly differently, but there are some main characteristics that you can look for. In your classroom students with expressive language disorder will likely:
1. Take longer to answer questions verbally
2. Provide short and sometimes incomplete sentences
3. Use vocabulary that is below age level
4. Understand information that is presented to them, but not communicate their ideas
5. Understand vocabulary appropriate for their age, but not implement it
From the child's viewpoint, this disorder can be very frustrating. The student is able to comprehend the information, but has difficulties showing this. Students with this disorder may not want to answer questions verbally, because of the length of time that it takes them to form an answer. They may feel like they are not as smart as other children, because they cannot explain their ideas with the same fluency.This may lead to self confidence issues since they are unable to express their ideas. Another issue that some students with expressive language disorder face is interacting with their peers socially. Since they are slow to communicate their ideas, this can harm their ability to make lasting friendships.
From the viewpoint of the teacher, one of the best things in order to understand this disorder is to be aware. There are many ways to do this. One is to start communication with the parents. They will likely know that their child has a language disorder, and may have strategies that they use at home that could help you in your classroom. They may already be taking their child to see speech pathologist. To start and maintain communication with parents, there are many resources under Chapter 2: Encouraging parent involvement found under the Alberta education website.The sample parent survey may be especially helpful because it is a resources that can be used for many disorders.
As a teacher is may also be beneficial to do research on expressive language disorder (hopefully this website has helped), and to keep up to date on new strategies to try in your classroom. Found here is a website that contains many resources for speech and language disorders.
If you are teaching a students with expressive language disorder, there are a number of challenges that you may face.One is that the student with the language disorder may be bullied because of their inability to communicate. One way in which to help this situation is to do an honoring diversity activity, such as the one presented here, or to talk to your class about the difficulties faced by those with expressive language disorder. Like said above, raising awareness is important.
A student with expressive language disorder may also have lower self confidence, or have trouble making friends. Both of these issues could be addressed in the same way as above. By including the child into the learning environment and making them feel like part of the community, these issues may not occur.
It is likely that the parents were the first ones that noticed that their child has expressive language disorder, and they may have many ideas and strategies that a teacher would be able to use in their classroom. Like mentioned above, Alberta Education contains many resources that are aimed at including parents in their child's education.
As a teacher, you may be able to speak to a specialist and pick up some strategies that you may use. It may also be helpful to talk to other teachers that you know and see if they have any strategies or resources that you do not.
In some cases, it may be beneficial for the students to see a speech pathologist. This is a decision that need to be made by the parents, but it may help the students a great deal.
For more information, visit the Learn Alberta website, which contains lots of information on this disorder.