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Oct 19

Speech and Language Disorders

Speech or Phonological Disorders
These disorders occur when the person has difficulty with the actual physical production of a sound. Someone may not be able to produce sounds at a level expected of his/her age group due to neurological problems, developmental delays or structural anomalies.

Language-based Disorders
These disorders occur when a person has difficulty either with understanding language (receptive language) or speaking language (expressive language), or both. Someone may not be able to follow directions of various lengths, produce sentences of appropriate length, identify or label items, retell a story, sequence events, or have an overall delay in processing language.

Fluency Disorders
These types of disorders disrupt the person’s natural pacing or smoothness of speech. The most common example is stuttering. These types of disorders are often seen in preschoolers but children should grow out of them within 6 months or once school age.

Executive Function Disorders
Executive function skills allow people to successfully adapt and perform within their daily environment. Delayed executive functioning may be present in people who demonstrate poor social skills. This is a higher-level cognitive disorder which shows itself in areas of working memory, problem-solving, making inferences and predictions, organization of thoughts/activities, impulse control and the ability to monitor and change one’s own behavior at a situation may unexpectantly change.

Voice Disorders
People with voice disorders often experience uncommon vocal qualities such as noisy breathing, too soft/too loud sound production, hoarseness, hyper/hyponasality (too much or too little air through the nose), or a complete lack of voice. It is important to work collaboratively with an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist and to have a complete medical evaluation prior to beginning Speech Language Therapy for any of these disorders. Some of these problems may require surgical intervention which others can be treated with direct therapy.

Social/Pragmatic Language Disorders
These disorders are often found in combination with other speech and language disorders and may negatively affect the person’s ability to form peer relationships. The person may have difficulty using language appropriately (ie-giving an appropriate greeting or good-bye, requesting or providing information), changing voice loudness in different settings (ie-church vs. play ground), or following the rules of simple conversation (making eye contact, taking turns, staying on topic).