Delay vs Disorder


If a child is following the typical pattern of development but at a slower rate in comparison to his/her ager 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.


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.


Categories of Communication disorders according to ASHA:

Speech Disorder
  • Speech Disorders are impairments which involves articulation of speech sounds, fluency and/or voice. They are subdivided into:
      • articulation disorder which is characterized by distortions of the production of speech sounds;
      • fluency disorder that is characterized by the abnormal rate, rhythm, and repetition of sounds, words or phrases thus interrupting the flow of speech
        • Childhood Onset Fluency Disorder, also known as Dysfluency or stuttering, is a disorder that affects the natural flow of speech. Children will experience some degree of dysfluency as part of the developmental process of learning language but this lessens as they age. Those who have true stuttering problem tend to repeat sounds, syllables, parts of words, whole words and phrases. They may stretch words, pause between them or talk in spurts.
      • voice disorders which are problems with a person’s voice, usually characterized by the abnormal production of sound in the vocal chords.


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 comprehend (receptive language), process and integrate spoken language, and/or has trouble with his/her ability to formulate words to express his/her own thoughts, ideas and feelings (expressive language)
  • Another term most often used to describe this disorder is “specific language impairment” or simply, “language impairment”.


Hearing disorders
  • Hearing Disorders are effects of an impairment on the hearing which may limit development, comprehension, production or maintenance of speech and language. They are classified depending on the difficulties faced in the 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 other than the auditory channel.


Central Auditory Processing Disorders
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorders (CAPD) are deficits in the processing of auditory information but they are not attributed to physical hearing issue but it is a sound and processing disorder.


Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder
  • Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is a deficiency in the social use of communication as manifestation of impairments in four aspects of communication namely:  the use of communication for social exchange, adaptation of communication style to the context, following the rules of the conversation, and comprehending implicit or ambiguous 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.