Communication disorder
SpecialtySpeech–language pathology Edit this on Wikidata

A communication disorder is any disorder that affects an individual's ability to comprehend, detect, or apply language and speech to engage in discourse effectively with others.[1] The delays and disorders can range from simple sound substitution to the inability to understand or use one's native language.[2]


Disorders and tendencies included and excluded under the category of communication disorders may vary by source. For example, the definitions offered by the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association differ from those of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 4th edition (DSM-IV).

Gleanson (2001) defines a communication disorder as a speech and language disorder which refers to problems in communication and in related areas such as oral motor function. The delays and disorders can range from simple sound substitution to the inability to understand or use one's native language.[2] In general, communication disorders commonly refer to problems in speech (comprehension and/or expression) that significantly interfere with an individual’s achievement and/or quality of life. Knowing the operational definition of the agency performing an assessment or giving a diagnosis may help.

Persons who speak more than one language or are considered to have an accent in their location of residence do not have a speech disorder if they are speaking in a manner consistent with their home environment or that is a blending of their home and foreign environment.[3]


According to the DSM-IV-TR, communication disorders are usually first diagnosed in childhood or adolescence, though they are not limited as childhood disorders and may persist into adulthood.[4][full citation needed] They may also occur with other disorders.

Diagnosis involves testing and evaluation during which it is determined if the scores/performance are "substantially below" developmental expectations and if they "significantly" interfere with academic achievement, social interactions, and daily living. This assessment may also determine if the characteristic is deviant or delayed. Therefore, it may be possible for an individual to have communication challenges but not meet the criteria of being "substantially below" criteria of the DSM IV-TR. The DSM diagnoses do not comprise a complete list of all communication disorders, for example, auditory processing disorder is not classified under the DSM or ICD-10.[5] The following diagnoses are included as communication disorders:


The DSM-5 diagnoses for communication disorders completely rework the ones stated above. The diagnoses are made more general in order to capture the various aspects of communications disorders in a way that emphasizes their childhood onset and differentiate these communications disorders from those associated with other disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders).[8]


Examples of disorders that may include or create challenges in language and communication and/or may co-occur with the above disorders:

Sensory impairments


Aphasia is loss of the ability to produce or comprehend language. There are acute aphasias which result from stroke or brain injury, and primary progressive aphasias caused by progressive illnesses such as dementia.

Learning disability

Speech disorders

See also


  1. ^ Collins, John William. "The greenwood dictionary of education". Greenwood, 2011. page 86. ISBN 978-0-313-37930-7
  2. ^ a b Gleason, Jean Berko (2001). The development of language. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 978-0-205-31636-6. OCLC 43694441.
  3. ^ "Speech sound disorders". Information for the Public. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Archived from the original on 2019-05-17. Retrieved 2012-02-22.
  4. ^ DSM IV-TR, Rapoport DSM-IV Training Guide for Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders
  5. ^ Banai, K; Yifat, R (2010). JH Stone; M Blouin (eds.). "Communication Disorders: Auditory Processing Disorders". International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation. Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE).
  6. ^ Morales, Sarah. "Expressive Language Disorder - ICD 315.31". Children's Speech Care Center. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Stuttering". Children and stuttering; Speech disfluency; Stammering. U.S. National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health. 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  8. ^ Fung, Lawrence K.; Hardan, Antonio Y. (2014). "Autism in DSM-5 under the microscope: Implications to patients, families, clinicians, and researchers". Asian Journal of Psychiatry. 11: 93–97. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2014.08.010. PMID 25219947.
  9. ^ a b c d American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fifth ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. pp. 41–49. ISBN 978-0-89042-555-8. OCLC 845233998.
  10. ^ Lee ASY, Gibbon FE. Non-speech oral motor treatment for children with developmental speech sound disorders. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD009383. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009383.pub2.
  11. ^ Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan (2014). Abnormal Psychology (Sixth ed.). 2 Penn Plaza, New York, NY 10121: McGraw-Hill Education. p. 301. ISBN 978-0-07-803538-8.CS1 maint: location (link)
  12. ^ a b American Psychiatric Association. "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition". Page 46.
  13. ^ Kennison, Shelia M. (2013-07-30). Introduction to language development. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4129-9606-8. OCLC 830837502.
  14. ^ "Specific Language Impairment". National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). 2015-08-18.
  15. ^ James, D. M.; Stojanovik, V. (2007). "Communication skills in blind children: a preliminary investigation". Child: Care, Health and Development. 33 (1): 4–10. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2214.2006.00621.x. PMID 17181747.
  16. ^ a b c d e Sinanović O, Mrkonjić Z, Zukić S, Vidović M, Imamović K (March 2011). "Post-stroke language disorders". Acta Clin Croat. 50 (1): 79–94. PMID 22034787.
  17. ^ a b c Harciarek M, Kertesz A (September 2011). "Primary progressive aphasias and their contribution to the contemporary knowledge about the brain-language relationship". Neuropsychol Rev. 21 (3): 271–87. doi:10.1007/s11065-011-9175-9. PMC 3158975. PMID 21809067.
  18. ^ Louis, Kenneth O.; Raphael, Lawrence J.; Myers, Florence L.; Bakker, Klaas (2013). "Cluttering Updated". ASHA Leader. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). Archived from the original on 2012-07-18. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  19. ^ "Dysarthria". Impairment of speech; Slurred speech; Speech disorders - dysarthria. U.S. National Library of Medicine - PubMed Health. 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
  20. ^ Sices L, Taylor HG, Freebairn L, Hansen A, Lewis B (December 2007). "Relationship between speech-sound disorders and early literacy skills in preschool-age children: impact of comorbid language impairment". J Dev Behav Pediatr. 28 (6): 438–47. doi:10.1097/DBP.0b013e31811ff8ca. PMC 2755217. PMID 18091088.

Further reading