Children with Communication Disorders

Communication disorders affect approximately 5% off all school aged American children. This can range from speech problems, like stuttering, lisps or even hearing problems to language impairments such as the inability to understand and interpret what is being asked of or said to the child.

Communication disorders

Communication is essentially the ability to send and receive information to and from others. This can be done with oral speech but it can also include other forms of communication, such as sign language or computer aided speech.

The range and complexity of difficulties affecting children with communication disorders is vast. They can be broadly classified into difficulties with either speech or language.

  • Speech disorders are generally the lack of ability to produce appropriate sounds. This would include articulation difficulties, childhood apraxia of speech or other oral motor problems. It's also common in children with hearing problems, because they have difficulty learning how to make sounds. Stammering or stuttering in children also fits broadly under this classification.

  • Language disorders affect another component of communication. Language in itself is about expressing yourself in words, understanding and comprehension. Speech is the tool we use to communicate language.

  • If we say a child has comprehension or receptive language difficulties, this means the child is unable to understand all or some of what is being said. If you think of the brain as a giant mesh net, smaller pieces of information can find their way through the net. This could be repetitive and common instructions like "wash your hands", or "put on your shoes".

    Other, larger pieces of information, however, cannot make it through the net. Your child might have difficulty following an instruction with several parts such as "Go and get your coat and put on your shoes then find your books because it is time for school"

    A child who has difficulty with expressive language finds it hard to put their thoughts into words or to put those words into sentences to convey meaning. Depending on the type of difficulty and on the age of the child, this can result in the child sounding immature for their age "Me done it" , missing words from sentences, struggling to find the right word or finding it hard to retell a story or event with the steps in the correct sequence.

    The subject of communication disorders is so complex that a Speech and Language Therapist studies for four years or more in order to be able to help children with these difficulties so you will forgive me if I can only give a brief introduction in these pages. If you are interested in reading more, you can find quality resources here or on the following pages...

    Other communication disorders articles you might like to read...

  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • Stuttering in Children

  • Back from Communication Disorders to Kids Games for Speech Therapy...

Top Talking Tips...

Sing Nursery Rhymes and Action Songs

Traditional songs and rhymes have hand actions that let your child join in and take a turn, even before they can sing the words.

This helps to work on listening, attention, imitation and turntaking, all important skills for Speech and Language development!