Welcome to the Speech-Language Services Website! As speech-language pathologists we address a variety of communication needs. In order to gain understanding of the various disorders that we treat, please peruse the definitions outlined below. The official definitions of the disorders addressed may be found in the official guidelines of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) as presented by the AD Hoc Committee on Service Delivery in the Schools (1982) and as quoted:

A communication disorder is an impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems. A communication disorder may be evident in the processes of hearing, language and/or speech. A communication disorder may range in severity from mild to profound. It may be developmental or acquired.  Individuals may demonstrate one or any combination of communication disorders. A communication disorder may result in a primary disability or it may be secondary to other disabilities.

 I. A speech disorder is an impairment of the articulation of speech sounds, fluency and/or voice.                                                          

  • An articulation disorder is the atypical production of speech sounds characterized by substitutions, omissions, additions or  distortions that may interfere with intelligibility. 
  • A fluency disorder is an interruption in the flow of speaking characterized by atypical rate, rhythm, and repetitions in sounds, syllables words, and phrases. This may be accompanied by excessive tension, struggle behavior, and secondary mannerisms.
  • A voice disorder is characterized by the abnormal production and/or absences of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance and/or duration which is inappropriate for an individual's age or gender.

II. A language disorder is impaired comprehension and/or use of spoken, written and/or other symbol systems. The disorder may involve:
  • the form of language (phonology, morphology, syntax),
  • the content of language (semantics), and/or
  • the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination.

III. A hearing disorder is the result of impaired auditory sensitivity of the physiological auditory system. A hearing disorder may limit the development, comprehension, production, and/or maintenance of speech and/or language. Hearing disorders are classified according to difficulties in detection, recognition, discrimination, comprehension, and perception of auditory information. Individuals with hearing impairments may be described as deaf or hard of hearing.

IV. Central auditory processing disorders are deficits in the information processing of audible signals not attributed to impaired peripheral hearing sensitivity or intellectual impairment...Specifically, CAPD may involve the listener's active and passive ability to do the following:

  • attend, discriminate, and identify acoustic signals;
  • transform and continuously transmit information through both the peripheral and central nervous systems;
  • filter, sort and combine information at appropriate perceptual and conceptual levels;
  • store and retrieve information efficiently; restore, organize, and use retrieved information;
  • segment and decode acoustic stimuli using phonological, semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic knowledge; and
  • attach meaning to a stream of acoustic signals through use of linguistic and nonlinguistic contexts.

American Speech-Language Hearing Association. (1993). Definitions of communication disorders and variations (Relevant Paper). Available from www.asha.org/policy.