May is National Better Hearing and Speech Month! May is all about raising awareness about communication disorders and highlighting our awesome speech language pathologists at PediaPlex and all over the country! Communication disorders are present in children and adults. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 40 million Americans have some sort of communication disorder. Many times, children will start with speech therapy at a young age and continue to work on skills throughout childhood; but, sometimes a communication disorder may go undiagnosed until adulthood.
A communication disorder is a type of disorder that affects an individual’s ability to comprehend, detect, or apply language and speech when communicating with others. There are many types of communication disorders in children and adults. These are the four main types of developmental communication disorders:
Language Disorder- An individual with a language disorder will typically have difficulty understanding words, putting words together to forms sentences or difficulty using the correct words in context. This may impact their understanding of spoken language and their ability to use vocabulary and grammar to communicate appropriately. Language disorders may impact a child’s academic success and can be complex, so it is important to work on all aspects of language and incorporate it into their education as well. A language disorder is typically diagnosed when a child is young but may not be evident until they are in the later primary grades in school and the academic language demands increase significantly. It is important to seek out a speech pathologist when your child is young if they are not meeting their language milestones.
Speech Sound Disorder- A speech sound disorder occurs when an individual has trouble making certain sounds. For example, this may affect the way a child says their “s” or “r” sounds or can be an omission of a certain part of a word. You may have heard this called an articulation or phonological processing disorder. Children often mispronounce sounds when they are young and learning to talk but sometimes these errors do not go away on their own and need a little help. Occasionally, children may exhibit motor planning problems, and this can affect placement of the articulators in their mouth resulting in unusual error patterns.
Fluency Disorder- a fluency disorder is most commonly referred to as stuttering. Stuttering can be a developmental phase that children will go through as they are learning to talk as they combine their thoughts into words. There are a variety of factors that are involved in a fluency disorder persisting beyond certain ages or developing later in childhood. Sometimes the onset of a fluency disorder may occur after a traumatic event, when an individual is anxious or if they have motor planning or breathstream management difficulties. Consistent therapy and collaboration with other professionals and caregivers are always necessary.
Social Communication Disorder- This disorder most commonly refers to how individuals communicate socially. You may have heard it called a pragmatic language disorder as well. Social communication is the use of language in social contexts. It encompasses social interaction, social cognition, pragmatics, and language processing. Social communication skills include the ability to vary speech style, take the perspective of others, and understand and appropriately use the rules for verbal and nonverbal communication.
To start treatment for a suspected communication disorder you will want to contact a speech language pathologist. A speech language pathologist is able to help with any of the above disorders, and even more such as feeding therapy. At PediaPlex, we focus on early developmental intervention so that we can assist the family with these concerns at a young age. With consistent therapy and collaboration, we can help your child reach their milestones and be successful. At PediaPlex, we treat children up until the age of 18 and work in close communication with all the child’s community partners and caregivers to help them reach their goals quickly and generalize their skills!
There are many different resources available to celebrate better hearing and speech month and help spread awareness. You can download this printable for your child to color and share. You can also update your Facebook/Twitter banners for the month of May. We would love if you shared this blog as well to help educate others about the different communication disorders. If you already receiving speech therapy, make sure to thank your speech pathologist for all of their hard work!
We are so proud of our PediaPlex speech language pathologists and the amazing work that they are doing for our families!
To find out more about speech therapy, visit our website or give us a call today!
-The PediaPlex Family