Speech and language ability affects how we express ourselves, listen, read, write, pay attention, learn, remember, plan, and think. Here are some short descriptions of disorders that can occur when speech and language challenges arise.

Receptive/Expressive Language Disorders – Receptive language disorders refer to difficulties understanding spoken language. Weaknesses can occur with comprehension of vocabulary, concepts, grammatical morphemes, sentence structures or following the components of a story. Expressive language disorders impair the ability to fully describe events, ask questions, or express thoughts and feelings. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/PRPSpecificTopic.aspx?folderid=8589935327&section=Assessment#Special_Considerations_For_Diagnosis_of_SLD

Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) – Auditory Processing Disorders, sometimes referred to as Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD), are deficits in the brain’s ability to capture and process auditory input so that it can be understood. For some children, verbal language seems to “go in one ear and out the other.” These deficits are not attributable to hearing loss, language impairment, or cognitive deficits. Symptoms may include mixing up speech sounds, difficulty deciphering spoken sentences when others are talking in the background, trouble remembering multi-step directions, and frequently saying “Huh?” or “What?” As much as they try to pay attention, they may perceive that speech is coming at them too fast. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/hearing/Understanding-Auditory-Processing-Disorders-in-Children/

Language-Based Learning Disabilities/Dyslexia – Language-based learning disabilities encompass language issues that may affect reading decoding (sometimes referred to as dyslexia) and reading comprehension, written language, and spelling. These difficulties occur in the absence of cognitive deficits. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/LBLD/

Speech-Sound Articulation/Phonological Disorders – Speech-sound articulation disorders are characterized by sound substitutions or distortions, such as saying “thumb” for “some.” Phonological disorders affect entire classes of sounds, such as substituting front-of-the-mouth sounds such as /t/ and /d/ for back-of-the-mouth sounds, so “got” sounds like “dot” and “kite” sounds like “tight.” Some phonological processes are part of typical development but drop out by age four. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/SpeechSoundDisorders/

Executive Functioning Disorders – Executive functioning refers to activities carried out by the frontal lobe of the brain that enable us to analyze, plan, organize, develop, make adjustments, and complete tasks in a timely manner. Learn more at: http://www.ldonline.org/article/24880/

Attention Deficit Disorder – ADD refers to the ability to get focused and stay focused, to regulate attention; to handle external and internal distractors, to control impulsivity and self-manage one’s behavior. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ADHD/

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – ASD covers a wide range of manifestations that have in common persistent deficits in social interaction and social communication that are not accounted for by developmental delays. They are characterized by restricted interests, difficulty with taking the perspective of others, stereotyped behaviors, and excessive adherence to routines. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Autism/

Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorders – Social Communication Disorders refer to deficits in communication for social purposes such as greeting, turn-taking, and sharing information appropriate to the social context; deficits in the ability to change communication style to fit the needs of different listeners; difficulties understanding what is not explicitly stated, such as making inferences and understanding idioms. This diagnosis is given when Autism Spectrum Disorders and other language disorders or cognitive deficits do not better explain the symptoms. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/Practice-Portal/Clinical-Topics/Social-Communication-Disorders-in-School-Age-Children/

Fluency Disorders (Stuttering) – Fluency disorders are typically characterized by repetitions or prolongations of speech sounds. Secondary characteristics such as struggle behaviors may accompany the disruptions in the speech flow. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/stuttering/

Selective Mutism – Selective mutism occurs when a child does not speak in certain environments or situations but speaks in others. The silence cannot be explained by other causes. The speech-pathologist can be an important part of the treatment team. Learn more at: http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/SelectiveMutism/

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