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Communication Disorders


Communication Disorders

Children with communication disorders have deficits in their ability to exchange information with others.

A communication disorder may occur in the realm of language, speech and/or hearing.

Language difficulties include spoken language, reading and/or writing difficulties.

Speech encompasses such areas as articulation and phonology (the ability to speak clearly and be intelligible), fluency (stuttering), and voice.

A communication difficulty can affect a person’s ability to hear, talk, understand, read, write, sign and/or gesture. The technical term is a ‘communication disability’.

We will use the term ‘difficulty’ because not all people who have a communication difficulty consider themselves to have a disability.

Types of speech and language disorders

There are many kinds of speech and language disorders that can affect children. In this fact sheet, we’ll talk about four major areas in which these impairments occur. These are the areas of:

Articulation/speech impairments where the child produces sounds incorrectly (e.g., lisp, difficulty articulating certain sounds, such as “l” or “r”);

Fluency/ speech impairments where a child’s flow of speech is disrupted by sounds, syllables, and words that are repeated, prolonged, or avoided and where there may be silent blocks or inappropriate inhalation, exhalation, or phonation patterns;

Voice/speech impairments where the child’s voice has an abnormal quality to its pitch, resonance, or loudness; and

Language/ language impairments where the child has problems expressing needs, ideas, or information, and/or in understanding what others say

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

Causes of communication disorders

 There are many reasons why people may have a communication difficulty. Some communication difficulties can be present at birth. Other communication difficulties can develop over time. A communication difficulty can also begin suddenly.

 Communication difficulties can be caused by:

 Communication difficulties can be caused by:

 Hearing loss.

 Chromosomal conditions (e.g. Down syndrome)

 Cerebral Palsy.

 Stroke.

 Traumatic brain injury.

 Head and neck cancer (e.g. brain tumour)

 Parkinson’s Disease.

 Multiple Sclerosis.

 Friedreich’s ataxia

 Dementia

 Primary Progressive Aphasia

 and many more.

Characteristics of Children with Communication Disorders

 Distortions.

A speech sound is distorted when it sounds more like the intended phoneme than another speech sound but is conspicuously wrong. The /s/ sound, for example, is relatively difficult to produce; children may produce the word “sleep” as “schleep,” “zleep,” or “thleep.”

 Substitutions.

Children sometimes substitute one sound for another, as in saying “train” for “crane” or “doze” for “those.” Children with this problem are often certain they have said the correct word and may resist correction. Substitution of sounds can cause considerable confusion for the listener.

 Omissions.

Children may omit certain sounds, as in saying “cool” for “school.” They may drop consonants from the ends of words, as in “pos” for “post.” Most of us leave out sounds at times, but an extensive omission problem can make speech unintelligible.

 Additions.

The addition of extra sounds makes comprehension difficult. For example, a child might say “buhrown” for “brown” or “hamber” for “hammer.”

 Speak abnormally fast

 Speak in short sentences

 Do not angage in activities that involve talking or reading

 Have a tendency to breath through the mouth

 Some have a problem controlling a saliva

Educational implications for learners with communication disorders

• Speech and language disorders can affect the way children talk, understand, analyze or process information.

• 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.

• Students with communication disorders must be taken into account when teaching a class, no matter what subject is being taught. When considering the students with communication disorders in an educational classroom, the teachers must work with all of the students and other professionals, such as a special educator, speech pathologist

• in three main areas, which include facilitating the social uses of language,

• Question asking, and

• teaching literacy.

• Students with communication disorders will often times have a difficult time when trying to learning how to read and write.

• Teachers also must take into consideration the many options on how to assess these individuals with communication disorders. Assistive technology can be a major help to students with a physical disability concerning a communication disorder.

Daily life implication for learners with communication disorders

 People with a communication difficulty can find it hard to do everyday activities such as:

 reading a book or newspaper,

 talking on the telephone,

 joining in conversations,

 listening to the radio.

 A communication difficulty can affect areas of everyday life. For example going to work or school, socialising with family and friends and travelling.

 People of all ages can be affected by a communication difficulty. Some communication difficulties are temporary. Other communication difficulties are permanent.

Tips for Teachers

 Speech therapists

 Remedial learning

 Involve the parents

 Be patient

 Learn as much as you can about the student’s specific disability

 Recognize that you can make an enormous difference in this student’s life! Find out what the student’s strengths and interests are, and emphasize them. Create opportunities for success.

 Make sure that needed accommodations are provided for class work, homework, and testing. These will help the student learn successfully.

Educational interventions for learners with communication disorders

• Remedial instruction: Many speech problems are developmental rather than physiological, and as such they respond to remedial instruction.

• Use speech and language therapy: Language experiences are central to a young child’s development. In the past, children with communication disorders were routinely removed from the regular class for individual speech and language therapy.

• Keeping the child in the mainstream: This is still the case in severe instances, but the trend is toward keeping the child in the mainstream as much as possible.

• How to accommodate the child in the regular school?

• Stakeholders collaborations: In order to accomplish this goal, teamwork among the teacher, speech and language therapist, audiologist, and parents is essential.

• Speech improvement and correction are blended into the regular classroom curriculum and the child’s natural environment.

• Amplification may be extremely valuable for the child with a hearing impairment.

• Students whose hearing is not completely restored by hearing aids or other means of amplification have unique communication needs.

• Children who are deaf are not automatically exposed to the enormous amounts of language stimulation experienced by hearing children in their early years.

• For deaf children, early, consistent, and conscious use of visible communication modes such as sign language, finger spelling, and cued speech and/or amplification and aural/oral training can help reduce this language delay.

Some educators advocate a strict oral approach in which the child is required to use as much speech as possible, while others favor the use of sign language and finger spelling combined with speech, an approach known as TOTAL COMMUNICATION. There is increasing consensus that whatever system works best for the individual should be used.

• support services :Many children with hearing impairments can be served in the regular classroom with support services.

• Use of instructional aids In addition to amplification, instructional aids such as captioned films and high interest/low vocabulary reading materials are helpful.

For most children with hearing impairments, language acquisition and development are significantly delayed, sometimes leading to an erroneously low estimate of intelligence. technological advances :

Students whose physical problems are so severe that they interfere with or completely inhibit communication can frequently take advantage of other technological advances that allow the individual to make his or her needs and wants known, perhaps for the first time.


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