Development of Expressive Language

Prerequisites necessary for the development of expressive communication

  • The desire to engage with others
  • Intentional communication e.g. wanting to communicate a message
  • Having a means of communication either verbal or non-verbal e.g. through speech, vocalisations, behaviour, body language, eyepointing, signing, symbols, a VOCA.
  • Having a reason to communicate
  • Having the opportunity to communicate e.g. someone ready to respond immediately to the pupil’s communication.
  • The environment being set up to allow for and encourage communication
  • Teaching staff being able to recognise and respond to each pupil’s individual means of communication.
  • Appropriate memory skills
  • The ability to sequence information

Recognising expressive language difficulties

Pupils who are experiencing difficulties expressing themselves through verbal/non verbal/augmentative communication may:

  • use short utterances or single words
  • have limited vocabulary
  • have difficulty in finding the right word
  • use immature or unusual grammatical structures
  • confuse the order of words
  • have difficulty in sequencing ideas
  • have a literal use of language
  • lack flexibility and have difficulty generalising learning
  • talk a lot but have limited content or ability to discuss ideas in more detail
  • echo the words of others (echolalia)
  • be extremely passive
  • show frustration through their behaviour

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Last updated: 28 October 2015

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