A communication disorder is when you have trouble receiving, sending, processing, and understanding concepts or verbal, nonverbal, and graphic symbol systems. These disorders range from mild to severe, and are classified in four major groups:
- Speech disorder: when you have trouble communicating due to a problem speaking
- Language disorder: when you cannot understand and/or use spoken, written, and/or other symbol systems
- Hearing disorder: when you have trouble communicating due to a hearing impairment
- Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD): when you have trouble communicating due to a disconnect between what you hear and what you understand
Most of the time, a communication disorder is evident from childhood. The symptoms of communication disorders in young children are:
- Does not speak, or has a very limited vocabulary for their age
- Has difficulty understanding simple directions
- Is unable to name common objects
School-aged children with a communication disorder commonly have problems understanding and formulating words. Teenagers with a communication disorder may have trouble understanding or expressing abstract ideas.
The symptoms of communication disorders can look like other problems or medical conditions, so it’s important to seek the consultation of an expert to make the proper diagnosis.
Speech and language evaluations
If your child’s pediatrician suspects they may have a communication disorder, you will likely be referred to a speech-language pathologist (SLP) for a speech and language evaluation.
This test assesses your child’s logical reasoning abilities, reactions to various situations, and thinking performance.
Your child will likely undergo speech therapy to improve their communication and learn to manage the communication disorder.
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