|Classification and external resources|
A communication disorder is 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.
General definition 
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 that 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 their native language. In general communications disorders commonly refer to problems in speech (comprehension and/or expression) that significantly interfere with an individual’s achievement and/or quality of life. One may find it important to know the operational definition of the agency performing an assessment or giving a diagnosis.
Persons who speak more than one language or are considered to have an accent in their location of residence do not have speech disorders if they are speaking in a manner consistent with their home environment or a blending of their home and foreign environment.
DSM-IV’s Diagnostic Criteria 
Communication disorders are usually first diagnosed in childhood or adolescence though they are not limited as childhood disorders and may persist into adulthood (DSM IV-TR, Rapoport DSM-IV Training Guide for Diagnosis of Childhood Disorders). They may also occur with other disorders (co-occurring 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 (DSM IV-TR).
It should also be noted that the DSM categories do not comprise a complete list of all communication disorders, for example, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) are not classified under the DSM or ICD-10
DSM-IV Communication Disorder Categories 
- expressive language disorder -- Characterized by difficulty expressing oneself beyond simple sentences and a limited vocabulary. An individual understands language better than they are able to speak communicate it, they may have a lot to say but have difficulties organizing and retrieving the words to get an idea across beyond what is expected for his/her developmental stage.
- mixed receptive-expressive language disorder -- problems comprehending the commands of others.
- stuttering--a speech disorder characterized by a break in fluency, where sounds, syllables or words may be repeated or prolonged.
- Phonological Disorder—a speech sound disorder characterized by problems in making patterns of sound errors, i.e. “dat” for “that”.
- Communication Disorder NOS (Not Otherwise Specified)—the DSM-IV category in which disorders that do not meet the specific criteria for the disorder listed above may be classified. (DSM-IV-TR)
Changes Being Considered for the DSM-V 
The DSM-V proposed categories for Communication Disorders completely rework the ones stated above. It appears that the framers are making the categories more general in a way 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 (i.e. Autism Spectrum Disorders)
The new categories are as follows. A complete view of the revisions and the rationale for each may be found at dsm5.org The following partial definitions are taken directly from this source.
- A 02-08 Communication Disorders
- A 02 Language Impairment – “diagnosed based on language abilities that are below age expectations in one or more language domains; LI is likely to persist into adolescence and adulthood, although the symptoms, domains, and modalities involved may shift with age”
- .A 03 Late Language Emergence--a delay in language onset with no other diagnosed disabilities or developmental delays in other cognitive or motor domains.”
- A 04 Specific Language Impairment-- language abilities are below age expectations but non-linguistic developmental abilities are within age expectations
- A 05 Social Communication Disorder-- an impairment of pragmatics and is diagnosed based on difficulty in the social uses of verbal and nonverbal communication in naturalistic contexts, which affects the development of social relationships and discourse comprehension and cannot be explained by low abilities in the domains of word structure and grammar or general cognitive ability.
- A 06 Speech Sound Disorder—Formally Phonological Disorder
- A 07 Childhood Onset Fluency Disorder—formally stuttering
- A 08 Voice Disorder—“A voice disorder is diagnosed based on abnormal production and/or absence of vocal quality, pitch, loudness, resonance, and/or duration, which usually persists over time and is inappropriate for an individual's age or sex”
Examples of disorders that may include or create challenges in language and communication and/or may co-occur with the above disorders:
- autism spectrum disorder - autistic disorder (also called “classic” autism), pervasive developmental disorder, and Asperger syndrome -- developmental disorders that affect the brain's normal development of social and communication skills.
- expressive language disorder - affects speaking and understanding where there is no delay in non-verbal intelligence.
- mixed receptive-expressive language disorder - affects speaking, understanding, reading and writing where there is no delay in non-verbal intelligence.
- semantic pragmatic disorder - challenges with the semantic and pragmatic aspects of language
- specific language impairment - a language disorder that delays the mastery of language skills in children who have no hearing loss or other developmental delays. SLI is also called developmental language disorder, language delay, or developmental dysphasia.
Sensory impairments 
- blindness--A link between communication skills and visual impairment with children who are blind is currently being investigated (James, D. M. and Stojanovik, V. (2007), Communication skills in blind children: a preliminary investigation. Child: Care, Health and Development, 33: 4–10.)
- deafness/frequent ear infections—trouble with hearing during language acquisition may lead to spoken language problems. Children who suffer from frequent ear infections may temporarily develop problems pronouncing words correctly. It should also be noted that some of the above communication disorders can occur with people who use sign language. The inability to hear is not in itself a communication disorder.
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.
- Acute Aphasias
- Expressive aphasia also known as Broca'a aphasia, expressive aphasia is a non-fluent aphasia that is characterized by damage to the frontal lobe region of the brain. A person with expressive aphasia usually speaks in short sentences that make sense but take great effort to produce. Also, a person with expressive aphasia understands another person's speech but has trouble responding quickly.
- Receptive aphasia also known as Wernicke's aphasia, receptive aphasia is a fluent aphasia that is categorized by damage to the temporal lobe region of the brain. A person with receptive aphasia usually speaks in long sentences that have no meaning or content. People with this type of aphasia often have trouble understanding other's speech and generally do not realize that they are not making any sense.
- Conduction aphasia
- Anomic aphasia
- Global aphasia
- Primary Progressive Aphasias
Learning disability 
- dyscalculia -- a defect of the systems used in communicating numbers
- dyslexia -- a defect of the systems used in reading
- dysgraphia - a defect in the systems used in writing
Speech disorders 
- cluttering - a syndrome characterized by a speech delivery rate which is either abnormally fast, irregular, or both.
- dysarthria - a condition that occurs when problems with the muscles that help you talk make it difficult to pronounce words.
- esophageal voice - involves the patient injecting or swallowing air into the esophagus. Once the patient has forced the air into their esophagus, the air vibrates a muscle and creates esophageal voice. Esophageal voice tends to be difficult to learn and patients are often only able to talk in short phrases with a quiet voice.
- lisp - a speech impediment that is also known as sigmatism.
- speech sound disorder - Speech-sound disorders (SSD) involve impairments in speech-sound production and range from mild articulation issues involving a limited number of speech sounds to more severe phonologic disorders involving multiple errors in speech-sound production and reduced intelligibility.
- stuttering - a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or last longer than normal. These problems cause a break in the flow of speech (called disfluency).
See also 
- Gleason, Jean Berko (2001). The development of language. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-31636-0. OCLC 43694441.
- "American Speech-Language-Hearing Association". Speech sound disorders. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
- "Communication Disorders: Auditory Processing Disorders | International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation".
- (U.S. National Library of Medicine, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002400/, DSM-IV-TR)
- "Proposed Revision | APA DSM-5".
- "Proposed Revision | APA DSM-5".
- "Proposed Revision | APA DSM-5".
- "Proposed Revision | APA DSM-5".
- "Specific Language Impairment".
- 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.
- 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.
- "Cluttering Updated,".
- "Dysarthria - PubMed Health".
- 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 
- Cherney LR, Gardner P, Logemann JA, et al. (2010). "The role of speech-language pathology and audiology in the optimal management of the service member returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with a blast-related head injury: position of the Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinical Trials Research Group". J Head Trauma Rehabil 25 (3): 219–24. doi:10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181dc82c1. PMID 20473095.
- Wong PC, Perrachione TK, Gunasekera G, Chandrasekaran B (August 2009). "Communication disorders in speakers of tone languages: etiological bases and clinical considerations". Semin Speech Lang 30 (3): 162–73. doi:10.1055/s-0029-1225953. PMC 2805066. PMID 19711234.
- Aphasia - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
- Dysgraphia - National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- Voice and Speech Disorder Online Community (VoiceMatters.net)
- List of communication disorder related links
- Child Language Disorders
Caregiver Resources 
- Encouraging Speech Development in Children with Phonological Disorders
- Parent Resources for a child who stutters or may be stuttering
- When to contact a medical professional for expressive and or expressive-receptive language concerns