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Terms commonly used

Terms commonly used to diagnose a speech or language disorder

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI): An accident or trauma that causes injury to the brain. Acquired Brain Injury can also be called a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and it may be caused by penetrating injuries, such as in a car accident, or a Closed Head Injury (CBI) when the brain is damaged but there is no outward sign of trauma. The nature of the speech and language disorder depends on the type and extent of the injury.

Aphasia: Childhood or developmental aphasia is a disorder characterized by difficulty learning language in the absence of mental deficiency, sensory and physical deficits, severe emotional disturbances, environmental factors, or brain damage. Currently, these children are more likely referred to as language impaired, language disordered, or language disabled.

Apraxia: Verbal Apraxia is a disorder of articulation characterized by difficulty with sequencing and organizing motor or muscle movements specifically for the production of speech. It may also be described as the impaired ability to motor-plan. Muscle weakness is not associated with Apraxia. This is part of the group of disorders often referred to as Motor Speech Disorders.

Articulation: The movement of mouth, lips, tongue, voice box, etc (called the 'articulators') to produce speech sounds. Poor or incorrect articulation may be due to problems with the position, timing, direction, pressure, speed, or integration of the movement of lips, tongue, or other articulators. This also refers to the clarity of sounds in speech.

Autism: see Pervasive Developmental Disorder
Central Auditory Processing: Central auditory processing involves the analysis of sound, which occurs in the brain (ie. beyond the inner ear). Children with central auditory processing disorders have normal hearing in the usual sense. However, difficulty with central auditory processing will affect the ability to process, or make sense of, the sounds they hear. In the educational setting, the term "central auditory processing disorder" is a general one used to describe children who have difficulty listening in the classroom environment.

Cleft Lip and/or Palate: A disorder of the musculo-skeletal system where bone and muscle tissues do not fuse during the pre-natal period, causing a cleft in the lip and/or palate (ie. arch of the mouth). This may interfere with feeding and speech development.

Developmental Delay or Disability: A term used generically to refer to children whose development is delayed compared with their age peers. In education, the term refers to a severe learning disorder characterized by limited intellectual development and limited potential for academic learning. In the education setting, children may be identified with a "developmental disability" using the Ministry of Education Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities.

Discourse: Connected communication of thought sequences; continuous expression or exchange of ideas.

Dysarthria: Dysarthria is diagnosed when the child has problems with making speech sounds (one of the motor speech disorders) because of muscle paralysis, muscle weakness or poor co-ordination which results from a neourological impairment, such as cerebral palsy or acquired brain injury. The result may be distorted, substituted or omitted sounds.

Dysfluency: Dysfluency, also known as stuttering, is an interruption in the smooth, easy flow of speech. Examples include repetitions, prolongations, interjections, and silent pauses. Other movements may become associated with the speech disruptions and are referred to as 'secondary characteristics, such as facial grimacing, head movements, or hand movements.

Dysphagia: A disturbance in the normal act of swallowing.

Elective Mutism: Elective mutism refers to children who can use speech to communicate but do so only with selected people in certain environments. These children usually speak only to immediate family. Some elective mutes may speak to extended family or neighbourhood children and be primarily mute at school.

Hearing Impairment: A full or partial loss of the ability to detect sounds. The inability to hear sounds, or distinguish among different sounds, will result in problems with speech and language development. 'Deafness' is the traditional term used to describe loss of hearing, but 'hearing impairment' is the preferred term that encompasses the fact there are different degrees of hearing loss.

Language Impairment/Disorder: These terms are used interchangeably to refer to a disorder characterized by a problem in the understanding and/or use of oral or written language (listening, speaking, reading, writing). Within education, children may be identified "language impaired" using the Ministry of Education Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities.

Learning Disability: A learning disorder that involves problems in the understanding and use of the symbols of communication (including listening, speaking, reading, writing, mathematics). There is typically a significant difference between academic achievement and intellectual ability. Within education, children may be identified with a "learning disability" using Ministry of Education Categories and Definitions of Exceptionalities. rder characterized by limited intellectual development and limited

Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD): PDD is a generic term referring to a group of disorders that are characterized by : impairments in social interaction, impairment in verbal and nonverbal communication, and a restrictive, stereotypic pattern of behaviours. There is considerable variability in symptoms among individuals with PDD and considerable variability in the severity of these symptoms. There are a variety of disorders that fall under this category (including Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Rett's Syndrome, etc.).

Phonological Disorder: Child has difficulty with the development of speech sounds and the rules for the sound system.

Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder: Semantic-pragmatic disorder (ie. language meaning and language use difficulties) is sometimes used to describe those children who demonstrate language difficulties similar to autism/PDD () without the non-verbal social and behavioural characteristics typical of autism/PDD.

Stuttering: see Dysfluency

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): An assault on the brain that causes mild to severe injury. The two types of traumatic brain injury are penetrating injuries and closed head injuries (CBI). The nature of the speech and language disorder depends on the type and extent of the injury.

Voice Disorder: Voice disorders include abnormalities in the pitch (too high/too low), quality (hoarse/breathy, tight/harsh), loudness (inadequate/too loud), or resonance (hyponasal, such as when you have a cold, or hypernasal, when there is too much sound coming through the nose) of the voice.

Unintelligible Speech: Speech that cannot to some degree be understood by the listener.

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