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FAQ ...”the more you know”

Gitty Leiner, M.S., CCC-SLP

Tel: (917) 697-6187


All of the terminology related to Speech & Language delays can be overwhelming. 
Below is a list of disorders related to Speech & Language development and a brief overview of each.

Articulation Disorders
The most common speech disorder. Mispronunciation of speech sounds characterized by sound omissions, substitutions, distortions and additions.  Difficulty producing speech sounds in a clear manner that can be easily understood by listeners. 

Auditory Processing Disorder
Auditory processing refers to the brain's recognition and interpretation of both speech and non-speech sounds. An auditory processing disorder occurs when something adversely affects the processing or interpretation of information. Children with APD may have difficulty in the following areas: Attention, following directions, listening, processing information, academic performance, behavior, syntax, vocabulary, reading, writing and spelling. The cause is often unknown, however APD may be associated with dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, autistic spectrum disorders, specific language impairment or developmental delay.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Childhood apraxia of speech, or verbal apraxia, is an oral motor planning disorder that affects a child’s ability to sequence and say sounds, syllables, and words. The child knows what she wants to say but her brain is not sending the correct message to the body parts needed for speech production.  Early indicators of verbal apraxia include delayed first words, erred consonant and vowel production, difficulty combining sounds, inconsistent sound errors, difficulty imitating speech, facial movements, and stronger receptive language skills than expressive language skills. 

Expressive Language
Difficulty with verbal expression.  Symptoms can include word finding difficulties (misnaming objects or "talking in circles" with lack of appropriate vocabulary), misnaming items, deficits in syntax (word order), semantics (word meaning) and morphology (changes in verb tense), problems in retelling a story or relaying information and inability to start or hold a conversation.  An expressive disorder may be delayed (pattern of development is slow, but normal) or disordered (language is slow to develop and sequence of development/pattern of errors is atypical).

Higher Level Language Skills
Higher Level/Advanced Language skills are those learned by children in the fifth through twelfth grades. At this stage of development, language is used for intensive social interactions, higher literacy demands, and critical thinking.  Vocabulary acquisition demands increase and students are expected to understand and use language that is more figurative than literal.

Phonological Disorders
Phonology is how sounds combine together to make words. Phonological awareness is the ability to segment words into sounds and manipulate sounds in words. A phonological disorder occurs when a child does not know the rules for putting these sound together.  Phonology is considered to be a language-based disorder affecting language, reading, and writing development.  Children with phonology disorders are often unintelligible to most listeners and are at risk for future language, reading, and writing disabilities.

Literacy and Writing Skills
Emergent literacy begins at birth and continues through the preschool years. Skills important to the development of literacy (reading and writing) are developed during these first years of life.  Learning to read and write requires phonological awareness. Children who enter elementary school with weaker verbal abilities are much more likely to experience difficulties learning literacy skills than those who do not.  Reading and writing skills continue to develop throughout a child’s educational experience for more advanced comprehension and expression of language.

Pragmatic/Social Language
Pragmatic/Social language skills are how language is used functionally to have “competitive” interactions with peers and adults.  A child or adolescent with a pragmatic language disorder may talk about specific subjects in too much detail, talk about him/herself, seem uninterested in other children, have difficulty engaging in conversational exchanges, understand language in an overly literal/concrete way, have difficulty answering open-ended questions, have difficulty expressing feelings,  and have difficulty interpreting and using non-verbal body language.  

Receptive Language
Receptive language disorders/delays refers to difficulties in the ability to attend to, process, comprehend, retain, or use spoken language.  Early signs or symptoms of receptive language delays include difficulty following directions, echolalia (repeating back words or phrases either immediately or at a later time), difficulty responding to yes/no and “wh” questions, re-auditorization (repeating back a question first and then responding to it), inconsistent attention to spoken language, and using "memorized" phrases and sentences.
Stuttering occurs when the flow of speech is disrupted by repetition (d-d-dog), prolongation (dddog), and blocking (no sound) of sounds and syllables.  Approximately three million Americans stutter (1% of the population).  All children experience developmental stuttering as language develops.  This often includes repetitions of whole words and interjection of words such as “uh” and “um.” Twenty percent of children experience developmental stuttering severe enough for parents to be concerned.  Stuttering ranges in severity and can be a lifetime communication disorder.

Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism is a disorder of language and communication affecting 1 in every 150 children.  It involves a deficit in the ability to express communicative functions and to engage in normal social behaviors. Autism Spectrum Disorder is an umbrella term for social communication disorders including Autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Rett’s Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative disorder, and PDD-NOS.  The range in severity and intensity of symptoms varies between individuals.

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