Disorders of communication include deficits in language, speech, and communication. Speech is the expressive production of sounds and includes an individual’s articulation, fluency, voice, and resonance quality. Language includes the form, function, and use of a conventional system of symbols (i.e., spoken words, sign language, written words, pictures) in a rule-governed manner for communication. Communication includes any verbal or nonverbal behavior (whether intentional or unintentional) that influences the behavior, ideas, or attitudes of another individual. Assessments of speech, language and communication abilities must take into account the individual’s cultural and language context, particularly for individuals growing up in bilingual environments.
The standardized measures of language development and of nonverbal intellectual capacity must be relevant for the cultural and linguistic group (i.e., tests developed and standardized for one group may not provide appropriate norms for a different group). The diagnostic category of communication disorders includes the following: language disorder, speech sound disorder, childhood-onset fluency disorder (stuttering), social (pragmatic) communication disorder, and other specified and unspecified communication disorders.