Here you will find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding developmental disorders.

Does my child have a problem?

Although no two children develop at the same pace, a child's communication is considered delayed when the child is significantly behind his or her peers in the acquisition of speech and language skills. If you think your child may have a problem, it is best to seek professional assistance as soon as possible.

What is a communication disorder?

A communication disorder is the inability to understand or use speech and language to relate to others in society, which can be divided into four areas:

  • Language - this involves listening, speaking, reading and writing
  • Speech (articulation) - the pronunciation of sounds and words
  • Voice - the sound produced by vibration of the vocal cords
  • Stuttering - a disruption in the normal flow or rhythm of speech

What is language disorder?

Language disorder is an impairment in the ability to understand and/or use words in context, both verbally and non-verbally. Some characteristics include improper use of words and their meanings, inability to express ideas, inappropriate grammatical patterns, and reduced vocabulary. Language disorders may be spoken, written, or both.

What is articulation/speech disorder?

Speech disorder refers to difficulties producing speech sounds or problems with voice quality. Speech disorders may involve problems with the way sounds are formed, or with pitch, volume or quality of the voice.

What is voice disorder?

Voice disorder is a disorder that includes hoarseness, breathiness, or sudden breaks in the quality, pitch, and loudness of the sound.

What is stuttering?

Fluent speech is smooth, unhesitant, and virtually effortless. A dysfluency, however, is a rhythm disorder where a break in fluent speech occurs. Stuttering is, perhaps, the most serious dysfluency.


What are the causes of communication disorders?

The causes behind the majority of communication disorders are still a mystery to us, because the brain is very complex and our understanding of how it works is somewhat limited. Below, however, are some known causes of communication disorders:

  • Hearing impairment
  • Physical disability
  • Developmental disability

What are some characteristics of children with communication disorders?

A child with speech delays may present a variety of characteristics, including the inability to follow directions, slow and incomprehensible speech, and pronounced difficulties in syntax and articulation.

What is autism?

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of severe disorders of development. They can disrupt social relationships and communication, play, and academic skills. ASDs usually lead to lifelong disability. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that an average of 1 in 88 children in the US have an ASD. Science shows that early detection of ASD, when followed by the right interventions, can lead to better outcomes for children affected by autism. These include improved language, social, and adaptive functioning, as well as a reduction in inappropriate behaviors. It is important to identify and refer children with ASD as early as possible to the Early Intervention Program.

What is PDD-NOS?

PDD-NOS stands for Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified. Psychologists and psychiatrists sometimes use the term “pervasive developmental disorders” and “autism spectrum disorders” (ASD) interchangeably. As such, PDD-NOS became the diagnosis applied to children or adults who are on the autism spectrum but do not fully meet the criteria for another ASD such as autistic disorder (sometimes called “classic” autism) or Asperger Syndrome.

PDD-NOS is characterized by delays in the development of socialization and communication skills. Parents may notice associated behaviors as early as infancy. These may include delays in using and understanding language, difficulty relating to people, unusual play with toys and other objects, difficulty with changes in routine or surroundings and repetitive body movements or behavior patterns.