Students with Communication Disorders

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  • 0:03 Communication Disorders
  • 1:19 Speech & Language
  • 2:37 Hearing
  • 3:34 Auditory Processing
  • 4:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Dana Dance-Schissel

Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.

Students with communication disorders have unique needs and may have issues with speech, language, hearing, or processing. This lesson will explore communication disorders in students and will end with a brief quiz to see what you have learned.

Communication Disorders

Have you ever played the telephone game? It's a game where a message is whispered from one person to the next, and the final message almost never matches up with the initial one. This is because the transfer of information from person to person interferes with the ability to receive it clearly.

Can you imagine if life was like a game of telephone, with constant interruptions in the way you send and receive information? This is the reality for students with communication disorders. Communication disorders are mild to severe impairments that affect the ways a person receives, processes, sends, and understands information. These may include deficits in hearing, speech and language, or cognitive processing.

Communication disorders can be genetic or can be caused by illness, injury, or some developmental or environmental issue. Students with communication disorders usually perform below grade level and may demonstrate behavioral or emotional problems as a result of their struggles. Assessment and early intervention are important with communication disorders in order to maximize communication skills going forward throughout development. Now that we understand what students with communication disorders experience, let's take a closer look at some common communication disorders in the classroom.

Speech & Language

How often were you required to speak as a student? Perhaps you needed to respond to questions posed by your teacher, communicate with other students, or even present an oral report to the entire class. Imagine how difficult this might have been if you had a communication disorder that affected your speech or language.

Speech is a process of coordinated sounds and movements that expresses ideas both verbally and nonverbally. Nearly five percent of all students are diagnosed with speech disorders before they reach first grade. Some examples of specific speech impairments include stuttering, or a problem with the rhythm and flow of speech; issues with articulation, or the correct pronunciation of sounds and words; and problems with one's voice, or the vibration of the voice box used to produce sounds.

Communication disorders can also impact language. A language disorder impairs the individual's ability to express and/or understand the system of communications associated with the language. Speech and language disorders may be caused by cognitive or developmental issues, environmental problems, or hearing loss. Speech pathologists, school psychologists, pediatricians, and pediatric dentists can help with speech and language disorders in children.


Have you ever had water in your ears? It not only feels funny, but it can make hearing difficult. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to keep up in class if you couldn't clearly hear what was going on?

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