A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds. When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder. The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency).
Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following:
- Articulation : Articulation disorders include difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that other people can't understand what's being said. How speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").
- Voice : Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound. Voice Resonance or voice disorders include problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what's being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for the child when speaking (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).
- Fluecy disorders include problems such stuttering, the condition in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
Language is different from speech.
Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:
- What words mean (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity
- How to make new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
- How to put words together (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
- What word combinations are best in what situations ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)
Language disorder refers to difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas. Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:
- Receptive disorders refer to difficulties understanding or processing language,
- Expressive disorders include difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way (e.g sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely.
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