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Speech & Language Impairments
(Communication Disorders)

Speech Disorders
Lanugage Disorders

Communication Disorders...
   involve the exchange of information and ideas, receiving, understanding, and expressing ideas
   1/5 of all children in special education (21%)
   5% of all children and youth have a speech or language impairment:
   3% have articulation disorders
   4% have voice disorders
   6.5% have language disorders

Types:  Speech or Language

  Speech Disorder:
   communication disorders or impairments that affect an individual's production of sounds, rhythm of speech, or voice quality
   sometimes associated with cerebral palsy, unrepaired clept lip and/or palate, (a condition in which there is a split in the upper part of the oral cavity or the upper lip) or hearing loss

Characteristics of Speech Impairments
   disorders of articulation, voice, and fluency (rate of speech)
   Speech disorders can be functional or organic (causes)

Articulation Disorders

   largest group of speech impairments
   substitutions: doze for those, tat for cat, wabbit for rabbit
   omissions: boo for blue, kah for car
   additions:  tahree for tree,
   distortions:  nyes for yes; lisps: when the s, z, sh, and ch are mispronounced

Voice Disorders
   reflects interactive relationship of pitch, duration, intensity, resonance, and vocal quality
   pitch:  determined by the rate of vibration in the vocal folds
   Duration:  length of time any speech sound requires; disorders may include lengthened or shortened sounds
   Intensity:  loudness or softness
   Resonance: the perceived quality of the voice

   Hyponasality:  air can't pass through a speaker's nose as it is supposed to and comes through the speaker's mouth instead

   Hypernasality:  Air is allowed to pass through a speaker's nasal cavity on sounds other than those for which air is supposed to pass through the nasal passage

   quality of voice:  affected by problems of breath support of vocal-fold functioning

   vocal nodules:  small knots or lumps on the speech mechanism, common problem after yelling, usually only temporary

Fluency Disorders
   interruptions in the flow of speaking, such as atypical rate, rhythm, and repetitions of sounds, syllables, words and phrases

   Stuttering:  repeating words or sounds; frequent occurrence of speech disfluency, tension, and struggle
   more than 1 percent of the population
   more males than females stutter
   Research encourages children who stutter to:
prolong certain sounds
stop other activities while communicating
speak more slowly
practice speaking to a rhythmic beat
read aloud while listening to audiotaped books

  Language Disorder:

   communication disorders or impairments that reflect the individual's inability to use the rules of the language system to produce or understand a message
   sometimes the primary feature by which other disorders are identified (mental retardation, autism, central auditory processing disorders)
   Central auditory processing disorders - manifested by difficulty with auditory skills such as attending to input, discriminating between important and unimportant input, blending sounds that are heard, and remembering input
   receptive language disorder: difficulties with receiving and understanding language
   expressive language disorder:  difficulties with expressing ideas verbally, manually, or in other ways
   early expressive language delay:  a significant delay in the development of expressive language that is apparent by age two

a little "learning" that may help understand...
Language Development

Phonology:  rules that define the way sounds are combined to form words and how those sounds are changed to alter word meanings
Morphology:  rules that dictate how the smallest units of our language (morphemes) combine to form words (add plurals, past-tense markers to verbs, inflection, affixes)
Syntax:  rules that determine word order
Semantics:  rules that refer to the meaning and relationship between words
Pragmatics:  use of communication in social contexts

Social interaction theories:  Theories proposed by researchers like Vygotsky that support the belief that language is learned through interaction with others

  Causes of Communication Disorders:

Functional disorders
   no identifiable organic or neurological cause
   most children have functional disorders
   functional language problem:  difficulties associated with using language in everyday, real-life activities

Organic Disorders
   caused by an identifiable problem in the neuromuscular mechanism
   may be caused by hereditary malformations, prenatal injuries, toxic disturbances, tumors, traumas, seizures, infectious diseases, muscular diseases, and vascular impairments
   Organic language problems: difficulties in understanding or using language; can occur in children with cerebral palsy or cleft palate

Congenital impairments:  disorder is present at birth
Acquired disorder:  disorder is acquired after a period of normal communication (can be caused by an accident, illness, or infections)


   Play therapy
   Speech remediation:  corrects inappropriate pronunciation patterns and develops appropriate ones
   Language remediation:  focuses on enhancing pragmatic use of language, rather than on modifying language forms
   Alternative or augmentative communication systems:  allow students to learn a compensatory skill and to substitute that new skill for such an uncorrectable impairments as unintelligible speech or inability to communicate manually
   Expansion:  repeat student's comments and questions in a more semantically or grammatically correct way ("Tree big" à  "That tree is so big that I could not climb it.")
   Mileu teaching:  An approach to language intervention in which the goal is to teach functional language in a natural environment.