Speech & Language Therapy

What are speech and language disorders?

“When a child is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she has a speech disorder. Difficulties pronouncing sounds, or articulation disorders and stuttering are examples of speech disorders” (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010).

“When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language) or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language) then he or she has a language disorder” (ASHA, 2010). Language disorders can include difficulties in the following areas:

  • Semantics – ability to understand and use vocabulary
  • Syntax – ability to understand and use grammar
  • Morphology – ability to understand and use units of language (affixes, prefixes, etc.)
  • Phonology – ability to understand and manipulate sounds
  • Pragmatics – ability to understand and use social language, both verbal and nonverbal

What are the components of speech production?

  • Respiration – the process of coordinating breathing for sound production
  • Resonation – the opening and closing of the vocal folds
  • Intonation – the variation of pitch
  • Phonation/Articulation – the process of sound production

Speech and language disorders can be the result of an acquired, developmental or congenital condition.  Speech and language therapists utilize a variety of methods to assess and treat children with a variety of conditions.

Speech language pathologists treat a variety of disorders and conditions including:

  • Phonological (articulation) difficulties
  • Apraxia
  • Expressive and receptive language delays
  • Craniofacial disorders (cleft lip/palate)
  • Stuttering
  • Swallowing and feeding disorders
  • Voice disorders

Individuals with the following conditions may benefit from speech and language therapy:

  • Autism
  • Down Syndrome
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Stroke
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Hearing Loss
  • Learning disabilities
  • Developmental delays
  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Genetic conditions with associated speech and language difficulties
  • Cognitive disorders

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website provides information and resources for the public including:

  • Information on Hearing and Balance
  • Health Insurance
  • Speech, language and swallowing
  • Additional resources such as books on communication

Website at www.asha.org/public

Information on the Idaho Medicaid program for children as well as links to the Katie Beckett application can be found at www.healthandwelfare.idaho.gov.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2010.  The Public. Retrieved from http://www.asha.org/public