Delay vs Disorder

If a child is following the typical pattern of development but at a slower rate in comparison to his/her peers, then this may be indicative of a delay. However, if the child is no longer following  the typical pattern of development, then this could signify a disorder. The best way to determine if a child has a delay or disorder is to seek medical help and consult a Speech-Language Pathologist.


  • Usually resolves over time
  • Mild lag in development
  • Slower development


  • Frequent and intensive treatment is required
  • Significant delay
  • Interruption in normal sequence

What is a communication disorder?

Communication disorders are disabilities that affect the areas of speech, language and hearing processes of an individual. A person with a communication disorder whether developmental or acquired, can have one to several combinations of speech and language disorders which may be a primary disorder or a disorder secondary to other disabilities.


Patterns of Sound Production

Produces a little number of consonants and makes vowel errors

Social Skills

Behavior problems, initiates conversations with adults rather than their peers.


Does not use communication gestures that much (nodding, shaking head, etc.)

Verbal Variety

Frequently uses simple words than longer word combinations. (want, go, get, make, got)

The Way they Play

Immature play behavior (lining up cars, spinning wheels, etc.)


Does not imitate word combinations


Speech Disorders

  • Speech Disorders are impairments which involves articulation of speech sounds, fluency and/or voice. They are subdivided into:
      • Articulation disorder can be defined as problems in the production of speech sounds.
        • Childhood Onset Fluency Disorder, also known as Dysfluency or stuttering, is a disorder that affects the natural flow of speech. Children goes through a dysfluency period but it lessens as they age. They have a habit of repeating sounds, syllables, parts of words, whole words, and phrases. They may stretch words, pause between them or talk in spurts.
        • Voice disorders are problems with a person’s voice that affects speech production.

Language Disorder

  • Language Disorders are impairments on the an individual’s ability to understand and/or use spoken, written and/or other symbol systems. It is characterized by the abnormal production of language with regards to any of the following:
    • the form of the language,
    • the content of the language and/or:
    • the function of language in communication.
  • Language disorder can be identified when the child has trouble with his/her ability to understand (receptive language), process and organize spoken language, and/or has trouble with his/her ability to compose words to express his/her own thoughts, ideas, and feelings (expressive language)
  • It is also known as “specific language impairment” or simply, “language impairment”.

Hearing disorders

  • Hearing Disorders are impairments on hearing that affect an individual’s ability to develop, understand, and produce speech and language. They are classified depending on the difficulties faced in acquiring hearing information. People with hearing impairment can be either be deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Deaf is a hearing disorder that limits an individual’s ability to hear or speak to the extent that they may have to use other means to communicate.

Central Auditory Processing Disorders

  • Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) are problems in processing the information that they hear but it is not associated with physical hearing issue.

Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder

  • Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder is a brain impairment that affects the following :
    •  The use of communication for social exchange
    •  Adaptation of communication style to the context
    •  Following the rules of the conversation
    •  Understanding difficult language

Unspecified Communication Disorder

This category applies when symptoms of communication disorder are present but does not have a sufficient data for a more specific diagnosis.