Language involves thought processes, grammar, meaning, memory and words. Speech is the language we can hear. Communication involves listening, speaking, reading and writing. Some people use sign language, communication aids or other methods to communicate.

What are Speech and Language/Communication Disorders?

Developmental speech and language disorders refer to any disorders in children who do not acquire spoken and/or written language skills in accordance with an age appropriate developmental pattern. This includes children with difficulties in the development of communication interaction, comprehension and production of language, including the pragmatic/functional aspects of language, articulation, phonology (sound system of a language), fluency, voice and disorders of swallowing.

Teacher showing student reflection

There may or may not be an identifiable reason for the difficulty. Some of the common identifiable causes for speech and language disorders may be: – mental handicap, autism, a learning disability, hearing loss, cerebral palsy, head injury.
14% to 20% of pre-school children have delayed or disordered speech and language.

Signs of Speech and Language/Communication disorders:

  • Difficulty in understanding speech
  • Difficulty in thinking of words/word finding e.g. may call `bulb’ a `light’
  • Difficulty in putting words together into sentences
  • Difficulty with grammar e.g. pronoun reversals or problems with plurals
  • Difficulty in saying sounds and/ or words e.g. say `tun’ for `sun’
  • Difficulty in narrating and sequencing a simple story or event
  • Reading and writing difficulties