Speech Disorders and Language Disorders

A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.

Speech disorders include:

  • Articulation disorders: difficulties producing sounds in syllables or saying words incorrectly to the point that listeners can’t understand what’s being said.
  • Fluency disorders: problems such as stuttering, in which the flow of speech is interrupted by abnormal stoppages, repetitions (st-st-stuttering), or prolonging sounds and syllables (ssssstuttering).
  • Resonance or voice disorders: problems with the pitch, volume, or quality of the voice that distract listeners from what’s being said. These types of disorders may also cause pain or discomfort for a child when speaking.
  • Dysphagia/oral feeding disorders: these include difficulties with drooling, eating, and swallowing.

Language disorders can be either receptive or expressive:

  • Receptive disorders: difficulties understanding or processing language.
  • Expressive disorders: difficulty putting words together, limited vocabulary, or inability to use language in a socially appropriate way.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs), commonly referred to as speech therapists, provide evaluation and remediation services for the following disorders or delays: articulation (pronunciation of words), fluency (stuttering), voice, receptive language (comprehension), expressive language, pragmatic language (social skills), oral motor skills and swallowing.

SLPs can be found working in a variety of settings including: public and private schools, hospitals, private practice, colleges and universities, rehabilitation centers, group homes, skilled nursing facilities, in-home visits, state and local health departments, state and federal government agencies, and corporate environments. SLPs have a general knowledge of all areas of speech-language pathology; however, most therapists tend to specialize in specific disorders or populations that they serve most frequently. For example, an SLP working in an elementary school would most likely specialize in articulation, language, fluency, voice and pragmatic skills related to the needs of elementary school students. Whereas an SLP working in an acute care hospital setting would likely specialize in oral motor, swallowing, speech, language and voice disorders related to the needs of hospital patients who have acquired neurogenic disorders.

Speech-Language Pathology is an extremely broad field which enables therapists to find their niche and specialize in an area they feel passionately about. The wide range of settings in which SLPs may work provides the opportunity for varied work experiences over the course of their career.

How often will we need to come to speech therapy?
How often a child comes to speech therapy depends on what type of problem he or she is experiencing, as well as how severe the difficulty is. Typically, children come once or twice a week for individual 30 minute sessions.

Is this my fault?
We don’t know for sure what causes speech and language problems. It could be as simple as having a lot of ear infections when young or the speech/language problems could be a symptom of a larger problem. It is not your fault.

How do I know if my child has a speech-language delay?
If your child doesn’t talk as much as children his/her own age, the problem may be a speech-language delay. Your doctor or teacher may be concerned about a speech-language delay if your child does NOT do the following: Say simple words clearly or unclearly at 12-15 months, understand words like “no” or “stop” by 18 months of age, talk in short sentences by 3 years of age, or tell a simple story at 4-5 years of age.

Please review the chart of Developmental Speech & Language Milestones below.
If your child is demonstrating difficulty with any of those skills, they may need speech and/or language therapy.  Children develop speech/language skills at different rates.  Sometimes siblings within the same family develop speech and language skills at a different rate than their brothers and sisters.  This does not mean that there is a problem, but a screening of your child’s skills can determine if further evaluation is needed.


You start to learn language from the day you are born. You learn to use language to express your feelings and communicate with others. During early speech and language development, you learn skills that are important to the development of literacy.

Literacy is a person’s ability to read and write. Reading and writing are important to help function in school, on the job, and in society.

In school, children with communication disorders are more likely to struggle with literacy skills. They often perform poorly in school, have problems reading, and have difficulty understanding and expressing language.

Adults may also have literacy problems. Some adults continue to struggle with reading and writing from childhood. Others have trouble reading and writing after a stroke or brain injury.

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) assess and treat children and adults with communication disorders. SLPs work with teachers and other professionals to help people become effective communicators, problem-solvers, and decision-makers.

Pediatric and Adult Speech Therapy
What ages do you serve?

Birth -101

What are the areas of difficulty?

There are several areas that a speech-language pathologist will explore/evaluate:

  • Oral Motor. The mouth, tongue, nose, breathing and how they are     
  • coordinated and operated by muscles
  • Phonology. The sounds that make up language.
  • Syntax and grammar. The way that words and parts of words combine in phrases or sentences.
  • Semantics. The meaning of sentences words and bits of words.
  • Pragmatics. How language is used in different situations and how feelings are conveyed.
  • Intonation and stress. The rhythm and music of the way we speak.

Will my insurance company pay for speech therapy?
Yes, some insurance plans will cover therapy. We are in-network providers for some plans, but not all. We can provide you with a “superbill” billing statement with applicable procedure and diagnosis codes for you to submit to your insurance plan for reimbursement. Every insurance plan is different, and some plans may reimburse a certain number of visits. You may also be able to see us as an out-of-network provider. Please check with your specific plan to obtain additional information about reimbursement.

What other options are available to help with payment of services?
You may be able to arrange coverage through an employee “cafeteria” plan. Under such plans, some employers offer the option to select a benefit other than traditional health insurance to reimburse additional medical expenses not usually covered by insurance, such as out of pocket expenses and deductibles. Reimbursement may be determined by IRS guidelines.

You may also be able to use a “Health Savings Account”, or HSA, in which you pay into a family savings account using pre-tax income, for items not covered by traditional insurance, and then receive reimbursement after filing the receipts or invoices. Please check with your employer about the plans available to you.

Since 2005, the IRS has allowed a deduction for medical expenses. In Publication 502 (Medical and Dental Expenses), under the topic “Special Education”, it states, “You can include in medical expenses fees you pay on a doctor’s recommendation for a child’s tutoring by a teacher who is specially trained and qualified to work with children who have learning disabilities caused by mental or physical impairments, including nervous system disorders.” For this deduction, you need a doctor’s recommendation and the fees (which can be combined with other medical expenses) must total more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income.

Tax laws often change, so please check the current IRS regulations. The information provided above is NOT intended as professional or legal advice, but it is worth looking into! For more information visit: www.irs.gov

When do I pay for therapy services?
We require payment at the time of service. In some instances, we may provide you with invoices to be paid weekly or monthly. These arrangements must be made in advance.

What types of payment do you accept?
We currently accept cash, check, Square payments.  There is a small surcharge for Square payments to allow for the usage fees.

Contact us today!

So To Speak Therapies