How to Differentiate a Speech Impairment and a Language Disorder?

The terms speech and language are frequently used interchangeably. When we’re talking about communication in general, they could signify the same thing. However, they have entirely distinct connotations in the medical world.

Effective communication is a critical component of building connections at work, school, and social contexts. In addition, untreated language disorders can have long-term effects, such as depression or behavioral issues in adulthood.

This article will share information about speech impairment and a language disorder, their types and categories, and their differences.

Speech VS. Language

As spoken words are actually heard, they are referred to as speech. It is a method of communication that is done orally. Speech is talking and making recognized sounds with the tongue, lips, jaw, and vocal cords in a highly exact and synchronized manner.

Language consists of all the words and symbols used to transmit meaning, whether verbally, through written communication, or through gestures, body language, and facial expressions.


What is Speech Impairment?

People with speech disabilities have difficulty pronouncing certain speech sounds. They may alter the sounds of certain words while omitting others.


What are speech impairment categories?

Speech impairment has various categories. Here you can see those categories below:


Fluency disorder

This style is distinguished by an odd repeating of sounds or rhythm.


Voice disorder

You are experiencing a voice disorder if you have an unusual tone of voice. For example, it might be an out-of-the-ordinary pitch, quality, resonance, or loudness.


Articulation disorder

Certain sounds may be distorted if you are experiencing an articulation disorder. You might also completely eliminate noises.


Types of speech impairments

Speech problems can begin in childhood and progress throughout adulthood. Others can occur as a result of trauma or a medical incident such as a stroke.


The following are examples of speech impairments:


Childhood apraxia of speech

This can occur to youngsters when they are ready to start communicating. Because the brain’s messages do not interact with the mouth, the youngster is unable to move their lips and tongue as they should.



This sort of speech impairment occurs when the muscles used to speak become too weakened and are unable to form words effectively.


Orofacial myofunctional disorders (OMD)

OMDs are distinguished by an unusual sequence of facial muscle activity.

OMD interferes with the function of the face muscles, notably the tongue. As a result, individuals who struggle with OMD may also have difficulty breathing through their noses.


Speech sound disorders

It is natural for youngsters to struggle with specific sounds as they begin to speak. However, persistent mispronunciation may indicate a problem beyond the age of four or five. It can last throughout adulthood, and some people acquire it after having a stroke.



Stuttering can be defined as the involuntary repetition of words or sounds such as “uh” and “um.” In addition, powerful feelings of stress might exacerbate stuttering.

Stuttering, also known as stammering, is a widespread fluency condition that causes three million people in the United States to suffer. It mainly influences young children who are just starting to talk, but it can also affect adults.



A vocal issue might imply that you “lost” your voice due to overstressing it. It can also refer to persistent cough or vocal cord paralysis, among other things.


What’s a language disorder?

People with language disorders have a harder time expressing themselves and understanding what others have to say. This is not related to hearing impairments. Language issues, also described as receptive-expressive language dysfunction, are quite frequent in early childhood.

According to the University of Mississippi Medical Center, it affects 10 to 15% of children under the age of three. However, language ability is often more stable by the age of four, and it can be assessed more reliably to identify regardless of the existence of the deficiency.

Language difficulties appear in early life, although symptoms may not become apparent until a child is exposed to increasingly complicated language. The severity of the symptoms might range from minor to severe.


Types of language disorders

Three types of language disorders are:


Receptive language disorder

Youngsters with receptive language dysfunction struggle to grasp words. They have difficulty understanding what they hear or read and what everyone else is saying. They frequently respond in illogical ways.


Expressive language disorder

Youngsters with active language disorder struggle with language use. They may comprehend what others say but have difficulty communicating with others and sharing their feelings, thoughts, desires, and ideas via language. The disease can damage both spoken and written language, as well as sign language.


Mixed receptive-expressive language disorder

Children who have both diseases at the same time struggle to grasp what others express as well as to be comprehended by others.


The Difference Between a Speech Impairment and a Language Disorder

A speech problem typically signifies that a person has difficulty generating specific sounds correctly. Children who have difficulty making accurate speech sounds or who doubt or stumble when speaking may have a speech issue.

Young toddlers learning to talk will most likely replace, omit, or distort natural speech sounds. It’s fairly uncommon for 3-year-olds to use the f sound for the letter th in their speech: “I’m firsty (thirsty).” In a 5-year-old, however, the pronunciation would be deemed an articulation mistake. This is a speech issue.

Language is concerned with meaning. Children with language disorders may have difficulties comprehending what everyone else says or conveying their opinions. Children who have a language problem may struggle to grasp what is being said. Alternatively, individuals may have difficulty conveying their own ideas.

Consider a youngster who has great speech and accurately pronounces words. This youngster may still have weak language skills, such as difficulty stringing words to understanding the meaning of what others saying.

Separate speech and language abnormalities can arise. Or a person may have both types of diseases at the same time.

There are developmental milestones that can help you determine whether your child’s speech and language are growing normally. By the time they become 2, most toddlers have a vocabulary of roughly 50 words. By the age of two to three years, most children comprehend far more language than they can communicate.


Speech Therapy Near me in Las Vegas

If your kid struggles with language and communication abilities, he or she may benefit from speech therapy. Speech issues should be identified early and addressed as soon as possible. Improving language abilities may become more challenging when the youngster enters the school year. It will be determined by the therapist’s early assessment. For therapy sessions for your kid in your home, contact the Health and Care Professional Network.

Adults and children can benefit from a variety of speech therapy services provided by the Health and Care Professional Network. Since 2006, we have given the greatest remedies in Las Vegas. Our professionals can advise you on the sort of service you want.



For the individual suffering from a speech disorder, it may be a very stressful and embarrassing situation. If your kid has a speech and language issue, he or she may require the services of a speech and language practitioner. When communicating, it is critical to be patient and understanding.

In this article, we took a look at speech impairment, language disorder, and the difference between them. If you suffered from these problems in the past or made contact with people with these problems, please share your experience with us in the comment section.

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