Speech and Language

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Recognizing Speech and Language Disorders

  • Speech is the communication of spoken words. Speech consists of the following:

    • Articulation—how speech sounds are produced
    • Voice—coordination of vocal folds and breathing to produce sounds
    • Fluency—the rhythm of speech

    Language is shared system of rules accepted by a community to communicate ideas or feelings. Language consists of the following:

    • Semantics—the meaning of words
    • Morphology—units of meaning to make new word (e.g. love, lovely, loveliest)
    • Syntax—rules of grammar on how to put words together
    • Pragmatics—rules of social interactions
  • Apraxia—motor planning disorder not caused by muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts needed for speech.
  • Dysarthria—difficulty articulating words due to disease of the central nervous system.
  • Orofacial myfunctional disorder—exaggerated forward tongue movement during speech and/or swallowing.
  • Articulation disorder—difficulty producing sounds.
  • Phonological disorder—involves patterns of sound errors.
  • Stuttering—the constant disruptions in the productions of speech sounds that affect day to day activities.
  • Voice disorders—there are different types of voice disorders.
  • Vocal cord nodules and polyps
  • Vocal cord paralysis
  • Paradoxical vocal fold movement (an episode occurs, during breathing vocal fold closes when they should stay open)
  • Receptive language disorder—difficulty understanding spoken and written language.
  • Expressive language disorder—characterized by difficulty expressing thoughts, needs, or wants at the same level as his/her peers.
  • Language based learning disability—problems with reading, spelling and/or writing. Often children with reading difficulties have spoken language problems. Spoken language provides the foundation for the development of reading and writing.

If you suspect this is the primary challenge for your child please contact a qualified speech and language pathologist.

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