Child & Family Development Child & Family Development

May 22, 2018

May is Better Hearing & Speech Month!

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 ‚Äúwed‚Äù for ‚Äúred‚Äù ; stuttering, ‚Äúb-b-b-b-b-all‚Äù; voicing ‚Äúbig‚Äù for ‚Äúpig.‚Äù
  • 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)