Learn More About Communication Disorders

Speech and Language are the primary categories that your student’s communication may fall into when being discussed in the educational setting.  Below are communication terms you may hear, their explanations and which category (speech vs. language) they fall into.

Speech – “Speech refers to the sounds that come out of our mouth and take shape in the form of words,”(Hamaguchi, 1995)

Voice – This refers to a person’s vocal quality.  “Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice),” (ASHA.org).

Fluency – Disfluency is often referred to as “stuttering” and the terms may be used interchangeably.  “Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. It begins during childhood and, in some cases, lasts throughout life. The disorder is characterized by disruptions in the production of speech sounds, also called "disfluencies." Most people produce brief disfluencies from time to time. For instance, some words are repeated and others are preceded by "um" or "uh." Disfluencies are not necessarily a problem; however, they can impede communication when a person produces too many of them.” (ASHA.org).

Language – Language is what we speak, write, read, and understand. Language is also communicating through gestures (body language or sign language). There are two distinct areas of language: receptive (what we hear and understand from others’ speech or gestures) and expressive (the words we use to create messages others will understand), (Super Duper, Inc.).

Pragmatics – This is most simply our ‘social language’ and ‘body language’.  This includes a person’s ability to understand social cues and read social situations, including emotions.