Mikee Larrazabal 9 min read

Things you didn’t know about communication disorders

There are many different types of communication disorders, ranging from those that affect your ability to produce speech sounds to those that impact your ability to understand and use language. While some communication disorders are relatively mild and can be easily addressed through speech therapy, others may require more intensive intervention, such as a tracheostomy. If you want to learn more about communication disorders, read more. 

What is a communication disorder?

Communication disorder is an umbrella term that refers to a number of different conditions. These include:

Speech disorders

These disorders impact a person’s ability to produce speech sounds correctly, or fluently. It may be affected by the muscles of the face, mouth, and throat, or by the nervous system. There are different types of speech disorders, including:

Communication disorder
  • Articulation disorders: This is when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly. For example, children with articulation disorders may say “wabbit” instead of “rabbit.”
  • Apraxia of Speech: This is a neurological disorder that impacts a person’s ability to plan and execute the muscle movements necessary for speech.
  • Fluency disorders: This is when a person has difficulty speaking in a smooth, flowing manner. They may stutter or have problems with prolonging words or sounds.
  • Resonance disorders: This is when a person has trouble producing certain speech sounds due to the way their voice resonates. For example, they may sound nasally (like they’re speaking through their nose) or have a raspy voice.

Language disorders

These disorders impact a person’s ability to understand and use language. There are different types of language disorders, including:

  • Expressive language disorders: This is when a person has difficulty communicating their thoughts and ideas through speech or writing. Children with expressive language disorder may have trouble producing words, organizing their thoughts, or using proper grammar.
  • Receptive language disorders: This is when a person has difficulty understanding spoken language. They may have trouble following directions, answering questions, or engaging in conversation.
  • Pragmatic language disorders: This is when a person has difficulty using language in a socially appropriate way. For example, they may have trouble taking turns in conversation, understanding nonverbal cues, or using appropriate eye contact.
  • Social communication disorder: This is when a person has difficulty with the social aspects of communication. They may have trouble with back-and-forth conversation, body language, and making friends.

Communication disorders can be caused by many different things

There are many different factors that can contribute to the development of a communication disorder. These include:

  • Genetics: Some communication disorders are passed down from family members.
  • Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hearing loss, cleft lip or palate, brain injury, or cerebral palsy, can cause communication disorders.
  • Neurological disorders: Disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and autism spectrum disorder can impact communication.
  • Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental toxins, such as lead, can cause communication problems. Additionally, extreme poverty or neglect can also lead to difficulties with communication.
Better Speech consultation for APD

10 things you need to know about communication disorders

Now that you know the basics of communication disorder, we will be talking about 10 more things you need to know about communication disorders!

1. Communication disorders can occur at any age.

In our lifetime, we communicate every day. May it be through gestures or communication boards. Communication is vital to us, human beings. It is what makes us unique because only us, human beings, can communicate and learn different languages while also share our ideas and feelings. That is why communication disorder can affect anyone. Although it is most common in children, it can also happen in adults who suffer from accidents, stroke, or even a missing tooth!

2. Communication disorders is not just about understanding and producing words. It can also be how we talk socially.

Social communication disorder is how you use your words in the right context. For example, your child excels at school. However, he has difficulties adjusting and making new friends. This may be a symptom of social communication disorder. They may not know how to adjust and be flexible in talking with others. Others may not know how to read non-verbal communication such as emotions and feelings. These skills are as important as understanding new concepts and producing words.

3. If you think your child has communication difficulties, do not wait for them to outgrow it.

Even though children develop at their own pace, it is better to seek intervention as early as possible. Evidence shows that with early intervention, children with speech delay can outlive their difficulties and live better lives! The longer you wait, the farther the gap will be. The best gift you can give to your child is your outmost support. We know you only want what’s best for your child! So if you think your child has articulation disorders or expressive language disorder, seek help now!

4. There is no specific way to prevent communication disorders.

Expressive Language disorder

However, we can lessen the prevalence of articulation disorders or expressive language disorders, in children and adults, by getting rid of the risks that we can control. For children, it is best to provide more language stimulating activities and opportunities at home to lessen speech delay. Moreover, if your child has been diagnosed with a disorder such as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ADH, it is best to work with speech-language pathologists. They will educate you about the different techniques like environmental changes that you can do to help roster your child development. For adults, having a healthy lifestyle can reduce the prevalence of stroke or traumatic brain injury. 

5. Boys talk later than girls.

Yes, it is true! However, they only differ by a few months! It is important to note that children may develop in different variations. Language milestones are there to help us be aware of what we should look out for. It is not there to scare us! For example, if your child is a year old and only communicates through word approximations such as “mi” for milk. It is still in the normal range of language development.

Parents, you know your child better than anyone else. You can gauge whether he/she may or may not need help.

6. Teaching your child two languages does not stunt their language development and cause speech and language delay.

Studies show that bilingual children has better attention and memory. They can even learn new vocabulary even faster than monolingual children. It can implicitly improve their social communication skills as they can talk to different people and accept different cultures.

7. Children can have 2 or more types of communication disorders.

One child can have an impression of both expressive language disorder and articulation disorders. For example, children with cleft lip and/or palate has a hard time producing sounds due to anatomical difficulties. This then reduces their capabilities to express words to label and request. Thus, making it difficult for other people to understand him/her. For adults, a person can have aphasia, which is a language disorder, and apraxia, which is a speech sound disorder. There are many other instances that speech and language can co-occur. However, there is no need to worry! With the right intervention, you or your child can communicate better and live quality lives!

8. Prolonged screen time, or the use of gadgets, can cause communication disorders.

Articulation disorders

There is no know cause of communication disorder. However, studies show that the longer children spend time using gadgets, the higher the risk of speech and language delay. It is not just because of what they see on the internet, but the amount of time they spend without social interaction. Interaction is very important to develop your child’s speech and language skills. It is how we learn new things, explore the world, and learn how to empathise. Even though your child learned colors and numbers through watching videos, that does not mean we expect our children to learn everything from it. It is still best to teach your child yourself through walks, meal time chit-chats, and just plain old play time!

9. Speech and language disorders are diagnosed by comparing the child’s language with that expected for children of the same age. 

This is the standard of all speech and language diagnosis. However, your speech-language pathologists will also include other factors that may affect the stunt of speech and language development. These factors include the medical condition and environmental circumstances.

10. Speech therapy can help!

Speech-language pathologists, or also called SLP, can help people of all ages with communication disorder. They assess, diagnose, and treat children and adults with speech and/or language disorders or delay. 

What do speech-language pathologists do?

Speech language pathologists are professionals who are capable of assessing, diagnosing, and treating children and adults with communication disorders. There are different types of therapy techniques that they can do in order to help those with speech and language delay or disorder overcome their difficulties. For more information, talk to us now!

What you can do at home

As parents, you are your child’s first teacher. There are a lot of things you can do to help your child’s speech and language development. Here are five things you can do at home.

Speech Therapy
  1. Talk to your child. To help them understand the world better, it is our job to introduce the objects they see. Remember, they won’t know if you don’t teach them. Throughout the day, you can name things in the environment such as his/her clothes, body parts, or even objects we use daily.
  2. Read books regularly. Before bed time, it is a great routine for you and your child to read books. This is a good way to introduce different concepts as well as improving their imagination!
  3. Play nursery rhymes and dance to beat of the song! Songs can ignite a child’s spirit. It can also help children build their vocabulary while having fun! It can also improve their social skills while dancing with mommy.
  4. Imitation is a skill that children need to learn for them to speak! Encourage your child to imitate the sound of animals or even daddy’s cough. This will spark their ability to produce words while having fun!
  5. Rewards are the best! If your child produced a word or followed your instructions, give them credit and praise them for what they did. For example, you can give them a candy or a hug for getting an apple for mommy!

To learn more about different tips and tricks you can do to improve your child’s speech and language development, feel free to contact us! We would gladly accommodate the needs of your child.