Communication Disorders
By: Madelynn Knisley

A communication disorder, by definition from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, is an impairment in the ability to receive, send, process, and comprehend concepts or verbal, nonverbal and graphic symbol systems.

There are many different types of communication disorders, including speech, language, hearing, and central auditory processing disorders. Roughly 5% of children are noticeably effected by these disorders. In terms of treatment, early diagnosis and intervention provide the best results.      

In the classroom, strategies for helping students with communication disorders can be broken down into four categories: Language, Speech, Academics, and Physical.

Language: Focus lessons around listening, reading, and writing. Work at the pace appropriate for the student is particularly important in this situation as well as making sure the student has a way to express their wants/needs. Be sure and reinforce communication attempts.

Speech: Speak directly to the student and be a good model for speech. Have clear procedures for the student when they need to ask for help. The teacher must also emphasize interactive communication and be able to anticipate any problems a student with a communication disorder might have.

Academics: Keep the noise level to a minimum and make sure the student has a quiet space to focus on their work. Give clear, deliberate instructions and modify assignments if necessary so that the student may be successful at meeting the teacher's objectives. It may also be necessary to allow students more time to complete certain assignments.

Physical: Be sure you understand exactly how the student's ability to communicate is being affected and as stated above, make sure each student has an effective way to communicate.

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