- Speech disorders occur when a person has difficulty producing speech sounds correctly or fluently (e.g., stuttering is a form of disfluency) or has problems with his or her voice or resonance.
- Language disorders occur when a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language). Language disorders may be spoken or written and may involve the form (phonology, morphology, syntax), content (semantics), and/or use (pragmatics) of language in functional and socially appropriate ways.
- Social communication disorders occur when a person has trouble with the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication. These disorders may include problems (a) communicating for social purposes (e.g., greeting, commenting, asking questions), (b) talking in different ways to suit the listener and setting, and (c) following rules for conversation and story-telling. All individuals with autism spectrum disorder have social communication problems. Social communication disorders are also found individuals with other conditions, such as traumatic brain injury.
- Cognitive-communication disorders include problems organizing thoughts, paying attention, remembering, planning, and/or problem-solving. These disorders usually happen as a result of a stroke, traumatic brain injury, or dementia, although they can be congenital.
Comprehensive speech-language therapy assessment includes these components:
- Case history, including medical status, education, socioeconomic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds and information from teachers and other related service providers
- Patient/client/student and family interview
- Review of auditory, visual, motor, and cognitive status
- Standardized and/or non-standardized measures of specific aspects of speech, spoken and non-spoken language, cognitive-communication, and swallowing function, including observations and analysis of work samples
- Identification of potential for effective intervention strategies and compensations
- Selection of standardized measures for speech, language, cognitive-communication, and/or swallowing assessment with consideration for documented ecological validity and cultural sensitivity
- Follow-up services to monitor communication status and ensure appropriate intervention and support for individuals with identified speech, language, cognitive-communication disorders (ASHA 2004)