The month of May is dedicated to providing opportunities to raise awareness for a variety of communication disorders.
What is a Communication Disorder?
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) defines a communication disorder as, “…an impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems. A communication disorder may be evident in the processes of hearing, language, and/or speech. A communication disorder may range in severity from mild to profound. It may be developmental or acquired. Individuals may demonstrate one or any combination of communication disorders. A communication disorder may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities.”
What Are Some Common Communication Disorders?
- A speech disorder is an impairment of the articulation of speech sounds, fluency and/or voice. For example, replacing “wed” for “red” ; stuttering, “b-b-b-b-b-all”; voicing “big” for “pig.”
- A language disorder is when an individual has impaired comprehension or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems. For example, not being able to follow directions, recall details in a story, explain associations between objects (e.g., how do socks and shoes go together), or carrying on a conversation with a peer or adult.
- Hearing disorders and auditory processing disorders also fall under the category of communication disorders.
Are There Early Signs of Communication Disorders?
The ASHA has identified 6 early warning signs of Communication Disorders for children ages birth to 4 years old.
- Does not interact socially (from infancy and older)
- Does not follow or understand what you say (starting at age 1)
- Says only a few sounds, words or makes few gestures (18 months to 2 years old)
- Words are not easily understood (18 months to 2 years)
- Does not combine words (starting at age 2)
- Struggles to say sounds or words (ages 3 to 4 years old)