In DSM-III, this disorder is called Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type

Diagnostic Criteria

A. Failure to develop vocal expression (encoding) of language despite relatively intact comprehension of language.

B. Presence of inner language (the presence of age-appropriate concepts, such as understanding the purpose and use of a particular household object).

C. Not due to Mental Retardation, Childhood Onset Pervasive Developmental Disorder, hearing impairment, or trauma.

Differential Diagnosis

Developmental Language Disorder, Receptive Type

In Developmental Language Disorder, Receptive Type, comprehension of language is impaired, whereas in Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type, language comprehension is within normal limits.

Developmental Articulation Disorder

In Developmental Articulation Disorder, expressive language (vocabulary and grammar) is within normal limits, whereas in Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type, expressive language is impaired.

Mental Retardation

In Mental Retardation, there is general impairment in intellectual functioning, whereas in Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type, nonverbal intelligence is within normal limits.

Hearing impairment

With a hearing impairment, a child does not have a normal audiogram and does not respond normally to sounds, whereas in Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type, audiogram and response to sounds are normal.

Infantile Autism and Childhood Onset Pervasive Developmental Disorder

In Infantile Autism and in Childhood Onset Pervasive Developmental Disorder, there is no "inner language," imaginary play, use of gestures, or warm social relationships, whereas these are all present in children with Developmental Language Disorder, Excessive Type.

Acquired aphasia

In acquired aphasia, normal language is followed by onset of language disorder that may be associated with head trauma, seizures, or EEG abnormalities, whereas in Developmental Language Disorder, Expressive Type, normal language has not developed.


For more information, see Language Disorder

Diagnostic Criteria

A. The scores obtained from standardized individually administered measures of expressive language development are substantially below those obtained from standardized measures of both nonverbal intellectual capacity and receptive language development. The disturbance may be manifest clinically by symptoms that include having a markedly limited vocabulary, making errors in tense, or having difficulty recalling words or producing sentences with developmentally appropriate length or complexity.

B. The difficulties with expressive language interfere with academic or occupational achievement or with social communication.

C. Criteria are not met for Mixed Receptive-Expressive Language Disorder or a Pervasive Developmental Disorder.

D. If Mental Retardation, a speech-motor or sensory deficit, or environmental deprivation is present, the language difficulties are in excess of those usually associated with these problems.

Note: If a speech-motor or sensory deficit or a neurological condition is present, record the condition.


See 'Language Disorder'

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