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Understanding Speech & Language Disorders

A speech disorder (also called “articulation”) would make a child’s speech sounds (r, s, l, ch, etc.) different from other children. Examples:
• “won” instead of “run”
• “thun” instead of “sun”
• “wady instead of “lady”

Language is different from articulation. Many of the students who receive services for “speech” are actually receiving services for language disabilities. Language is a code made up of a group or rules.

Some children with language disorders have problems expressing themselves in speech. They don’t know the rules of language to share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely. Their disorder is called, therefore, a developmental expressive language disorder. This disorder can take many forms including:
• Delayed vocabulary
• Inability to initiate conversation
• Weak grammar skills
• Poor writing skills
• Inability to categorize objects
• Difficulty defining word meaning
• Word finding difficulties
• Inability to complete sentences

Some children have trouble understanding certain aspects of language; this is called a receptive language disorder. Because this is a disorder of understanding language, it can affect reading and math because of the comprehension involved. It may include difficulty with:
• Following directions
• Reading comprehension
• Understanding written/spoken language
• Auditory processing
• Sequencing events
• Visual relationships

A person who stutters, demonstrates speech that consists of repeated words (e.g. no-no), repeating sounds in the beginning or ends of words (e.g. wh-wh-what?), interjections (e.g. "umm, uh, like"), and/or prolonging sounds in words (e.g. ssssso when do we leave?). There may be secondary characteristics visible to the listener also (e.g. eye blinking, mouth twitching, blocking, etc.).  Effects of stuttering may include:
• Lower self-esteem
• Willingness to speak
• Avoiding situations because of speaking difficulty
• Fear of being teased

Voice problems with occur if the vocal cords are not working correctly.  Someone with a voice disorder may sound:

• Breathy or hoarse
• Sound like you are talking from your nose and too much air is coming out (hypernasality)
• Sound like you have a cold (hyponasality)
• Vocal volume is too loud or too soft
• Vocal pitch is too high or too low

***If you have any questions or concerned about your child's speech and/or language development, please do not hesitate to contact me or click HERE, to find and ASHA Certified Speech Language Pathologist.  Email contact is on the "Home" page on the right column.

Helpful Resources

Autism Resource:  Michelle Garcia Winner

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