What are speech and language disorders?

A speech disorder occurs when a person has trouble producing sounds correctly or smoothly blending the sounds to form words. A language disorder occurs if a person has trouble understanding spoken or written information (receptive language) or sharing their thoughts and ideas verbally, through gestures or in written form (expressive language). Speech-language pathologists also work on social skills and how individuals use their nonverbal and verbal language to communicate with others. Both children and adults can have speech and language disorders that may be developmental in nature or may be acquired as a result of a medical problem.

A speech-language pathologist and child sitting on the floor working together to form speech sounds with their mouths, one is holding a book; credit iStock.

What types of services are offered?

Outpatient evaluations and therapy are available to assess and treat children and adults who struggle with articulating speech sounds, understanding written or spoken language or expressing their thoughts in words and sentences. Our speech-language pathology team will use a variety of formal and informal test measures to evaluate three broad areas of communication: speech, language and social skills.

A motor-based therapy approach is provided for children with childhood apraxia of speech and severe speech sound disorders.

A speech and language consultative approach is provided to children receiving behavioral therapy within the Autism Care for Toddlers (ACT) ClinicSevere Behavior programEarly Intervention program and the Psychology program.

Integrated speech-language services are also available within the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program offered through the integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD).

Who benefits from speech and language therapy?

Individuals whose speech is difficult to understand or have difficulty understanding or expressing themselves due to speech and language disorders, such as: