There are many kinds of speech and language disorders that can affect children. In this fact sheet, we’ll talk about four major areas in which these impairments occur. These are the areas of:

  • Articulation | speech impairments where the child produces sounds incorrectly (e.g., lisp, difficulty articulating certain sounds, such as “l” or “r”);
  • Fluency | speech impairments where a child’s flow of speech is disrupted by sounds, syllables, and words that are repeated, prolonged, or avoided and where there may be silent blocks or inappropriate inhalation, exhalation, or phonation patterns;
  • Voice | speech impairments where the child’s voice has an abnormal quality to its pitch, resonance, or loudness; and
  • Language | language impairments where the child has problems expressing needs, ideas, or information, and/or in understanding what others say. (1)

These areas are reflected in how “speech or language impairment” is defined by the nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, given below. IDEA is the law that makes early intervention services available to infants and toddlers with disabilities, and special education available to school-aged children with disabilities.

This information is from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY).

Utah’s Special Education Rules define speech and language impairments as “a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.”

It’s very helpful to read more about speech and language impairments. Following are links to additional information:

NICHCY Speech and Language Impairment Resources
The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) offers brief, but detailed fact sheets on Speech and Language Impairments. Each fact sheet defines the disability, describes its characteristics, offers tips for parents and teachers, and connects you with related information and organizations with special expertise.

Organizations providing information:

ASHA | American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Information in Spanish | Información en español. 1.800.638.8255 |

NIDCD | National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
1.800.241.1044 (Voice)
1.800.241.1055 (TTY)

Cleft Palate Foundation

Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America | CASANA

National Stuttering Foundation
1.800.937.8888 |

Stuttering Foundation
1.800.992.9392 |