Communication disorders refer to a variety of disorders that may affect a person’s ability to detect, comprehend, or apply speech and language to effectively engage in discourse with others. Over 10% of children suffer from communication disorders. A problem in a particular area of communication can affect other areas. For example – hearing impairment in a child can disrupt his/her ability to adjust the tone or pitch of voice, leading to voice disorders.
Types of Communication Disorders
Communication disorders are classified into several types –
- Mixed expressive-receptive language disorder – If the child has difficulty speaking or understanding language, or shows signs of developmental delay
- Sound-speech disorder – If a child beyond a certain age faces a tough time expressing words clearly
- Fluency disorder – This refers to developmental stuttering, which typically begins in early childhood – between 2 years and 5 years – and may continue throughout life
- Social communication disorder – If a child is having trouble with non-verbal and verbal communication
- Articulation disorders – This refers to difficulty producing sounds clearly or speaking in a manner that is incomprehensible by others
Signs Indicating Communication Disorders in Children
Each child with a communication disorder may show unique symptoms. Nevertheless, the most common ones observed in a child are –
- Limited choice of word for his/her age
- Difficulty naming objects or grasping simple instructions/directions
- Not speaking at all
Most children with the above disorders are able to speak by the time they enrol in a school. However, they may still face problems communicating. Children of school-going age may have problems forming and understanding words, while teenagers often face trouble expressing or comprehending abstract ideas.
Even though the symptoms may seem like an indication of some other health problem, be sure to take your child to a therapist for proper diagnosis.
How are Communication Disorders in children diagnosed?
In most cases, children with communication disorders are referred to as an SLP or a Speech-language pathologist. A complete evaluation involves –
- Psychological testing of one’s thinking abilities
- Psychometric testing to detect the child’s reaction to various situations, reasoning skills and thought process – this, however, does not test one’s GK
How to treat Communication Disorders in children?
Treatment for communication disorders in children may include one or more of the following types of approaches –
- Speech Therapy – to help kids learn new vocabulary, correct word or grammatical errors, and organize their beliefs and thoughts
- Behaviour Therapy – therapy aims to bring the desired behaviour into practice with selective reinforcement – for example, the child may be encouraged to use adaptive coping behaviour to help them remember facts relevant to school performance
- Environmental Modification – a child with any particular communication disorder can be given extra time during discussions or test situations to more adequately formulate responses
Speak with your therapist or counsellor about the needs of your child, as they can prepare a treatment plan to help your child cope with the difficulties they face with communication disorders. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!