ICCD Services

Common Speech Disorders

Children Occupational Therapy

Common Speech Disorders

  • Apraxia of Speech is a disorder of the sequencing of the motor movements for producing speech sounds.
  • Articulation (Speech) Disorder is difficulty with the production of speech sounds. Articulation disorders are due to incorrect placement of the articulators (tongue, lips, velum) within the oral cavity.
  • Oral Motor Disorder occurs when a child has difficulty controlling muscles of the articulators (lips, tongue, etc.). Therapy focuses on improving strength and functioning for the purposes of speech.
  • Phonological Disorder occurs when children continue to produce immature patterns of speech sounds. Therapy focuses on replacing these patterns with appropriate production of sounds.
  • Selective Mutism occurs when a child speaks easily with specific people, but struggles or may not speak at all with others. Therapy focuses on gradual exposure to increasingly difficult tasks.
  • Stuttering is a disruption in the fluency of speech, either by repetition, prolongation, or block on sounds, words, or phrases. Therapy focuses on both stuttering modification and fluency shaping strategies.
    Voice Disorders are characterized by the voice sounding breathy, strained, having an odd pitch, or other unusual qualities.


Common Language Disorders

  • Language Delays are when a child is otherwise developing typically (in play, non-verbal social skills, etc.), but is producing and understanding speech at a lower level than is to be expected for his or her given age.
  • Expressive Language Delays/Disorders occur when a child is developing typically in his or her understanding /comprehension of speech, but is producing speech at a lower level than is to be expected at his or her given age.
  • Receptive Language Delays/Disorders are characterized by difficulties specifically with comprehending language.
  • Social/Pragmatic Communication Disorders include trouble with a variety of skills such as eye contact, understanding facial expressions and body language, understanding conversational turn-taking, perseverating on topics, maintaining topics of conversation, and a range of other skills.
  • Written Expression Disorder involves struggling to express thoughts and ideas effectively through writing.


Common Disorders with Related Language Components

  • High-Functioning Autism Children with high-functioning autism may have trouble with pragmatic communication skills. They may have difficulties maintaining eye contact, understanding facial expressions and body language, and understanding figurative language.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is characterized by inattention, hyper- or hypo-activity, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD may benefit from therapy focusing on executive functioning skills such as impulse control and whole body listening techniques.
  • Auditory Processing Disorders occurs when there is a breakdown in the process of recognizing interpreting speech sounds, despite normal hearing. Children with APD may benefit from therapy focusing on auditory, visual, and context discrimination techniques ranging from the single-sound level to conversational speech.
  • Autism Spectrum Disorders: Therapy varies greatly based on the needs of the child. For children with autism who have little to no language, therapy may include the introduction of a non-verbal form of communication (e.g. pictures, sign language) as well as strategies to encourage the child’s speech production.  Language therapy for autism often also targets pragmatic skills such as eye contact and understanding facial expressions.
  • Phonological Processing Disorders/Dyslexia Difficulties with decoding are often due to trouble matching the sounds of speech to the letters that represent them in written language. Improving phonological awareness skills can strengthen reading abilities.
  • Executive Function Difficulties occur when a child has trouble with planning, abstract thinking, flexibility, and self-regulation.  Difficulties with planning and organizing can often present in writing, initiation of work, and time management.
  • Language-based Learning Disabilities include weaknesses with reading comprehension, writing, and spoken language, which have a negative impact on success in the classroom.
  • Nonverbal Learning Disorder presents as difficulty interpreting nonverbal communication, such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions.  Children may be very literal, miss subtle cues, and have trouble understanding and relaying the most important information.

Red Flag Questions

Preschool: Does your child…

  • Have trouble comprehending concepts or vocabulary?
  • Have trouble describing feelings, ideas, and experiences?
  • Have trouble listening, following directions, or answering questions?
  • Have trouble interacting or playing with others?
  • Have trouble pronouncing words or being understood?

Speech-Language therapy for preschoolers often is play-based. Skilled therapists will work with your child in engaging activities and encourage understanding and production in a very natural way.


School-Age/Adolescent: Does your child…

  • Have difficulty with schoolwork or forget to turn in assignments?
  • Have trouble making or keeping friends or “fitting in” socially?
  • Have difficulty listening, following directions, or answering questions?
  • Have difficulty reading or understanding what he or she reads?
  • Have trouble with written expression?
  • Have trouble using vocabulary or expressing feelings, ideas, and experiences?
  • Have trouble producing language that is organized and intelligible?

Speech-language therapy for school age children focuses on individual needs within a broad range of areas to support academic and social growth. With school-age children, these skills are often directly taught and then reinforced while playing games or doing other activities.

Caroline Brinkert – Director of Speech and Language Therapy at cbrinkert@iccdpartners.org to schedule a more comprehensive intake conversation to determine the appropriate next steps for your child.


Speech and Language Therapy Intake Form

Speech & Language

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