Childhood Communication Consultancy (CCC) specialises in assessing and treating children ages 0-19 years old with speech, language, listening, literacy, learning and social communication difficulties. The aim of the assessment is to discover where the breakdown is occurring, to what extent: mild-moderate-severe, and to treat this. In the last article, we reviewed the processes that occur for effective communication. Below is a model that shows various disorders and where they occur in the processing model:

Language, Literacy & Sensory Disorders

1. Dyslexia: With this disorder there are weak aspects of speech and language processing, requiring auditory analysis, occurring at the level of phonological awareness: discrimination, recognition, perception of sequence of sounds (phonemes), as well as working memory, word associations and comprehension which are necessary for the processing of text/letters (graphemes) through visual processing. There is a correlation between auditory processing difficulties and dyslexia.

2. Language disorders: There are signs of breakdown for comprehension and expression –
a) Comprehension difficulties are indicated if the child has:
* Poor conversational skills lacking content and direction; he/she may give a random answer.
* Language that is imitated but can’t expand on what is said.
* Poor grammatical skills.
* Poor grasp of abstract concepts and takes a literal interpretation of language i.e. ‘pull your socks up’ as an idiom means ‘to do better’, but the child takes it literally.
* Poorly developed interactive and imaginative play.
* Poor verbal memory.
* Accurate reading but poor comprehension of what has been read.
b) Expressive language difficulties are indicated if the child has:
* Comprehension abilities in advance of his/her expressive abilities.
* Incorrect grammatical rules (words out of sequence or omitted).
* Word finding difficulties.
* Pronunciation difficulties (discrimination of sounds/sequence).
* Awareness and frustration at his/her difficulties.
* Good use of gesture/drawing and play skills.

3. Semantic disorder: This affects understanding of word in spoken and written language. We gain meaning from vocabulary, grammar, and word associations/relationships i.e. word categories; organisation; word finding; concepts; reasoning with words.

4. Phonological or Articulation disorder: Speech is incorrectly formulated due to disordered phonological processes occurring or articulatory difficulties i.e. co-ordination/speed; structures; muscles or sensory awareness.

5. Social communication/Pragmatic disorders: Social communication difficulties occur with perceptual difficulties; sensory dysfunction; poor memory and attention; inability to mind-read; inability to see beyond the here and now.

In the next article, compensatory strategies for these processes will be discussed.

Jacqui is an Authorised Provider of The Listening Program, a Cogmed coach and she is trained in Talk Tools If you have any concerns about your child, please contact Jacqui to discuss this further.