What is Speech Pathology?

Posted April 29th, 2011 by deborah.ross with No Comments

Speech and Language Disorders Explained
A child’s communication is considered problematic when the child is noticeably behind his or her peers in the acquisition of speech and/or language skills. Sometimes a child will have greater receptive (understanding) than expressive (speaking) language skills, but this is not always the case. Speech and language disorders can affect the way children talk, understand, analyze or process information.

Speech Disorders
Speech disorders include the clarity, voice quality, and fluency of a child’s spoken words. Language disorders include a child’s ability to hold meaningful conversations, understand others, problem solve, read and comprehend, and express thoughts through spoken or written words. Speech disorders refer to difficulties producing speech sounds or problems with voice quality. They might be characterized by an interruption in the flow or rhythm of speech, such as stuttering, which is called dysfluency.

Voice or Language Disorders
People with voice disorders may have trouble with the way their voices sound. Speech disorders may be problems with the way sounds are formed, called articulation or phonological disorders, or they may be difficulties with the pitch, volume or quality of the voice. They may say “see” when they mean “ski” or they may have trouble using other sounds like “l” or “r”. Listeners may have trouble understanding what someone with a speech disorder is trying to say. A language disorder is an impairment in the ability to understand and/or use words in context, both verbally and nonverbally.

Characteristics of Language Disorders
Some characteristics of language disorders include improper use of words and their meanings, inability to express ideas, inappropriate grammatical patterns, reduced vocabulary and inability to follow directions. One or a combination of these characteristics may occur in children who are affected by language learning disabilities or developmental language delay. Children may hear or see a word but not be able to understand its meaning. They may have trouble getting others to understand what they are trying to communicate.

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