Language Disorders




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Find out information about the causes, signs, diagnoses and treatment of a range of paediatric speech and language disorders below.


What is a Speech Sound Disorder

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What is a speech sound disorder?

A speech sound disorder refers to a child who may be having difficulty in the development of speech. It is an umbrella heading under which there are three sub categories. They include: articulation disorder, phonological disorder and childhood apraxia of speech.


Articulation Disorder: This involves difficulty producing one or just a few speech sounds.


Phonological Disorder: This involves errors that are typical of younger children’s speech. As they are trying to learn new sounds the child’s brain creates rules to simplify speech sounds and make it easier to say words such as leaving the final consonant of the end of words e.g. (seat = sea, clip = cli).


Motor Speech Disorder: These include speech difficulties that are related to ‘Childhood Apraxia of Speech’ (which refers to difficulty planning movements for speech).

Speech difficulties can impact on how well a child can interact with adults and their peers and can affect the development of important language, literacy and social skills.



What is a language disorder?

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What is a language disorder?

A language disorder affects as many as 22.3% of the population. There are three types of language disorders:


Receptive: Difficulty understanding what others are saying.

Expressive: Difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas.

Mixed Receptive-Expressive: Difficulty understanding and using language.

These challenges can affect a child’s ability to learn at school and develop social skills.



What is stuttering?

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What is a stutter?

Stuttering is a disorder that causes disruption to the rhythm and flow of speech. It can affect children and adults and affects approximately 1% of the population. It usually begins in early childhood often at around age 3. It can start gradually or suddenly.  


Not all children who stutter will continue to stutter. As many as 70% of young children who stutter will recover naturally without any therapy. The exact cause is unknown however believed to be related to differences in the part of the brain required for speech. Some people can inherit a predisposition to stutter. 


What is dysarthria?

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What is dysarthria?

Dysarthria is a speech disorder that causes weakness in the muscles that we use to talk. 

When we talk we use many muscles in our face. such as our lips, throat, tongue, cheeks and also muscles for breathing.

Dysarthria makes these muscles weaker, which makes it difficult for people to communicate effectively.



What is a

voice disorder?

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What is a voice disorder?

Voice disorders in children can be common. It can affect approximately 6-23% of children.

A voice disorder results in changes in pitch, loudness, and overall vocal quality and these changes often interfere with communicative abilities.

The most common paediatric voice disorder is hoarseness which is often caused by children yelling, screaming and/or crying.