A communication disorder is an inability to understand or use speech and language to relate to others. This can be divided into four areas:

  • Language - which involves listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  • Articulation - the pronunciation of sounds and words.
  • Voice - the sound produced by vibration of the vocal cords.
  • Stuttering - a disruption in the normal flow or rhythm of speech.

Effective communication is fundamental to all aspects of human functioning. A communication disorder is a persistent difficulty in the understanding and/or use of spoken or written language. Early detection, identification and treatment of communication disorders is essential.

Known causes of communication disorders include: Hearing Impairment - full or partial hearing impairment may cause difficulty in speech and language development; Physical Disability - Cleft lip and palate, or malformations of the mouth or nose may cause communication disorders. More involved disabilities such as cerebral palsy may preclude any speech at all and for these non-verbal children, augmentative communication methods may be used; Developmental Disability - Some children (not all) with a developmental disability or Down syndrome may be slower to learn to talk and may need extra assistance.

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