In communication disorders there may be problems with expression, pronunciation, fluency and even reception or social use of language. Language is part of the human ability to communicate with people using a system of signs known to the sender and the receiver. The correct development of language and communication favours the person’s adaptation to their environment, so it is important to detect any alterations as soon as possible.
The first warning signs of a difficulty in the communication area appear before the age of four. By two years of age, children acquire the ability to combine words to form short sentences and their vocabulary reaches around 50 intelligible words. This criterion is important in order to detect a delay in speech acquisition.
Language delay can mean a delay in the appearance of language or in the development of an age-appropriate level of phonological, morphological, syntactic, semantic and/or pragmatic language. When it comes to communication disorders, these difficulties affect the expression and comprehension of language and are not explained by an intellectual disability, developmental disorder, hearing impairment or neurological disorder.
- Definition and classification of communication disorders
The child or young person with a language disorder presents difficulties in both expression and reception, without there being a sensory or cognitive difficulty that can justify these deficits. When these difficulties are more associated with the area of language expression, we see that children or young people have a limited vocabulary, often with errors. They make short sentences and simplified grammatical structures, and may express themselves using an unusual word order. Impaired speech appears with difficulties in connecting phrases to explain a series of events or to hold a conversation. When difficulties are associated with the reception of the message, they find it hard to understand certain words, phrases and more complex verb tenses. These deficits in the language area have significant repercussions on their proper academic and social development.
A phonological disorder is when a person experiences difficulty in pronouncing phonemes when speaking. This difficulty interferes with the intelligibility of their speech in a conversation with other people or in correct academic development. The onset of pronunciation difficulties appears in the early stages of language development.
CHILDHOOD-ONSET FLUENCY DISORDER (STAMMERING)
This disorder is characterised by alterations in normal fluency and the temporal structuring of speech, which are inappropriate for the child’s age and their language acquisition. These alterations cause anxiety when speaking, limitations in communication and difficulties with academic performance.
- The appearance of repeated sounds or syllables, prolongation of the sound of consonants or vowels
- Fragmented words
- Pauses in speech
- Repeating monosyllabic words
Cognitive behavioural therapy brings together two types of therapeutic treatments, because although behavioural therapies are successful in the treatment of some pathologies, other aspects involved in the way in which people respond to different situations have to be taken into account.
Music therapy is one of the treatment options available at the Guttmann Brain Health Institute, for both adult and paediatric patients affected by neurological injuries or diseases at different stages within the rehabilitation process.
Social skills training is aimed at children and adolescents who have difficulties in interpersonal relationships and in handling different social situations, either because they have a disorder that justifies these issues.