• What is a Communication Disorder?
    Speech and Language Pathologists diagnose and treat disorders which fall into 4 main areas:
    1.  Articulation disorders include difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that others have difficulty understanding what a child is saying.  A parent will often state:  My child's speech is hard to understand.
    2.  Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive.  Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language.  Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.
    3.  Fluency disorders include problems such as stuttering, the condition in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions, or prolonging sounds and syllables. 
    4.  Voice disorders include problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what is being said.  These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for the child when speaking.
    Speech and language pathologists perform a variety of measures, both standardized and informal, in order to accurately diagnose a disorder.   The presence of a disorder is dependent upon a child's performance on the tests, and sometimes requires a medical diagnosis (for voice disorders resulting in the presence of vocal nodules). 
    When is therapy needed?
    Speech and language pathologists will work with a child one-on-one, in a small group, or directly in a classroom to remediate difficulties involved with a specific disorder.  In a school setting, the difficulties will negatively impact the child's ability to function in school and meet grade level standards.   Typically, the child's communication pattern is also found to be inappropriate for their age level.  Children might need speech-language therapy for a variety of reasons, including:
    • autism
    • hearing impairments
    • birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate
    • motor planning problems
    • developmental speech sound errors
    • cognitive/intellectual functioning or other developmental delays
    • vocal nodules