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Communication Disorders Defined

Communication Disorders Defined

Articulation Disorder

Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Every sound has a different range of ages when the child should make the sound correctly. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns).


*the information above was taken from


Speech Sound Eligibility


The following shows what grade each sound would be targeted for remediation in speech therapy in Plainfield District 202. Prior to that age misarticulation of sounds would be considered developmental.


Kindergarten – m, n, h, y, w, p, b, t, d, k, g, f, ng


First – v, l, sh


Second – s, z, ch, th, j


Third – r


In addition to looking at sound production, patterns of production are also assessed. Children should not be deleting initial (ook/book), medial (bu-on/button), or final sounds (ca-/cat) of words; syllables in words (puter/computer); or misproducing all sounds within a sound class such as stridency deletion (tun/sun; too/zoo; tark/shark).

Intervention for speech production difficulties is individualized to a student's needs.  Sounds or patterns in error are targeted for remediation.  Therapy minutes are individualized for each student and based on the severity of the speech disorder and/or other communication difficulties such as a language delay.

 Link for home articulation practice



Fluency Disorder

Stuttering affects the fluency of speech.  It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by "um" or "uh." Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them.

Intervention for fluency disorders is individualized to a student's needs.  Therapy minutes are individualized for each student based on the severity of the fluency disorder and/or other communication difficulties such as language or articulation difficulties.

*the information above was taken from


Language Disorder

Some children have problems with understanding, also called receptive language. They may have trouble:

  • Understanding what gestures mean
  • Following directions
  • Answering questions
  • Identifying objects and pictures
  • Taking turns when talking with others


Some children have problems talking, also called expressive language. They may have trouble:

  • Asking questions
  • Naming objects
  • Using gestures
  • Putting words together into sentences
  • Learning songs and rhymes
  • Using correct pronouns, like "he" or "they"
  • Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going

Many children have problems with both understanding and talking.

Intervention for language disorders is individualized to a student's needs.  Therapy minutes are individualized for each student based on the severity of the language disorder, whether the student has difficulty with comprehension and expression, and/or other communication difficulties such as articulation difficulties.

*the information above was taken from


Pragmatic Language Disorder

An individual may say words clearly and use long, complex  sentences with correct grammar, but still have a communication  problem - if he or she has not mastered the rules for social  language known as pragmatics.

Pragmatics involve three major communication skills:

  • Using language for different purposes, such as     
    • greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye)
    • informing (e.g., I'm going to get a cookie)
    • demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie)
    • promising (e.g., I'm going to get you a cookie)
    • requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please)
  • Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as     
    • talking differently to a baby than to an adult
    • giving background information to an unfamiliar listener
    • speaking differently in a classroom than on a playground
  • Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as     
    • taking turns in conversation
    • introducing topics of conversation
    • staying on topic
    • rephrasing when misunderstood
    • how to use verbal and nonverbal signals
    • how close to stand to someone when speaking
    • how to use facial expressions and eye contact

*the information above was taken from

Intervention for social language deficits is provided within a social language group.  This group is co-implemented by the speech/language pathologist and the school social worker.  Social language groups are divided into K-2nd grade and 3rd-5th grade.  The skills targeted in each group differ based on the age and cognitive development of the students.  The overall goal for these groups is to teach students how to think about social interactions (become social detectives). 

For more information on the concepts taught in social language group please visit Michelle Garcia Winner's website.


Voice Disorder

We have all experienced problems with our voices, times when the voice is hoarse or when sound will not come out at all! Colds, allergies, bronchitis, exposure to irritants such as ammonia, or cheering for your favorite sports team can result in a loss of voice.  Most voice problems go away after a short time.  A voice disorder is a chronic condition that has been diagnosed by a physician and requires intervention to change speaking habits.

*the information above was taken from

Intervention for a voice disorder requires a prescription from a physician containing specific details of the voice disorder.  Therapy focuses on changing habits that are considered abusive to the vocal cords such as using inadequate breath support for speech or using hard glottal onsets.  Therapy minutes are determined based on the severity of the voice disorder as well as any other communication difficulties such as an articulation disorder.