What is…?


What is a Speech and Language Impairment?

A Speech and Language Impairment (SLI)  is a developmental language disorder that may affect both expressive and receptive language. Mia has a Specific Language Impairment, meaning that is not related to or caused by other developmental disorders, hearing loss or acquired brain injury. People with SLI find it hard to understand what people say and learn the complex rules and nuances of language.

What is Verbal Dyspraxia?

Developmental Verbal Dyspraxia (DVD) is defined as an impairment or immaturity of the organisation of movement.For some children this may also include associated problems with motor control. DVD is a neurologically–based speech disorder caused by subtle brain malfunctioning. What causes this is not easy to establish, although, on some occasions, birth difficulties have been noted.

  • A history of feeding difficulties
  • Delayed expressive language development
  • Difficulty in producing consonants and or vowels in isolation and in the production of words
  • Difficulty in controlling volume, intonation and rhythm of speech
  • Speech, if present, is often unintelligible, even family may have difficulty in understanding.

To address these difficulties and to establish correct patterns of movement, speech therapy will be needed intensively for a sustained period.

What is Auditory Processing Disorder?

Auditory processing refers to what the brain does with the information it hears. It is not the same as ‘hearing’. A child can have normal hearing but have difficulties with auditory processing. Auditory processing skills include:

  • knowing which direction a sound comes from
  • knowing that two sounds are different
  • recognising rapid changes in sounds
  • identifying the sequence of sounds
  • remembering sounds
  • focusing attention on sounds

Children with Auditory Processing Disorder can

  • have difficulty responding to questions or following instructions
  • forget complex instructions
  • be easily distracted during listening tasks
  • be better at listening in individual or small group situations than in large group situations
  • have problems listening when there is a lot of background noise (for example, in the classroom or at the swimming pool)
  • confuse similar-sounding words (e.g.  ‘please’ and ‘pleased’)
  • have difficulty saying complex words
  • have difficulty ‘sounding out’ words for spelling and reading