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Glossary of Disorders

Our clients are diagnosed with one or more of the following disorders:

Speech and Language Delay

A true developmental delay of speech is when the child is following the "typical" path of childhood speech development, albeit at a rate slower than normal. Sometimes this rate is commensurate with cognitive skills. In typical speech/language development, the child's receptive and expressive skills are pretty much moving together. What is generally seen in a child with apraxia of speech is a wide gap between their receptive language abilities and expressive abilities. In other words, the child's ability to understand language (receptive ability) is broadly within normal limits, but his or her expressive speech is seriously deficient, absent, or severely unclear. This is an important factor and one indicator that the child may be experiencing more than "delayed" speech and should be evaluated for the presence of a specific speech disorder such as apraxia. However, certain language disorders may also cause a similar pattern in a child.


Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life. The result of a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain, autism and its associated behaviors have been estimated to occur in as many as 1 in 150 individuals. Autism impacts the normal development of the brain in the areas of social interaction and communication skills. Children and adults with autism typically have difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Persons with autism may exhibit repeated body movements (hand flapping, rocking), unusual responses to people or attachments to objects and resistance to changes in routines. Individuals may also experience sensitivities in the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.(Definition according to the Autism Society of America)


Hyperlexia is a syndrome observed in children who have the following characteristics: - precocious ability to read words - far above what would be expected at the chronological age. - significant difficulty understanding and using verbal language or a significant nonverbal learning disability. - difficulty in reciprocal interaction. Learn more about Hyperlexia by reading Donald's Story.


Apraxia of Speech is considered a motor speech disorder. A child with apraxia of speech has difficulty sequencing the motor movements necessary for volitional speech. Apraxia of speech may also be called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, and verbal dyspraxia. No matter what it is called the most important factor is the root word "praxis." Praxis is the ability to execute skilled movement.

Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is a neurobiological condition characterized by sustained impairments in social interactions and social relatedness, and the development of restricted, repetitive patterns of interests, activities and behaviors. Learn more about Apsergers by reading “My Kid and CSLD”.

Nonverbal Learning Disorder

A nonverbal learning disorder is a neurological condition believed to result from damage to the white matter connections in the right hemisphere of the brain, which are important for intermodal integration. Three major categories of dysfunction present themselves:

  • motoric (lack of coordination, severe balance problems, and difficulties with fine graphomotor skills)

  • visual-spatial-organizational (lack of image, poor visual recall, faulty spatial perceptions, and difficulties with spatial relations)

  • social (lack of ability to comprehend nonverbal communication, difficulties adjusting to transitions and novel situations, and deficits of social judgment and social interaction).

Auditory Processing Disorders

Central auditory processing disorders are deficits in the information processing of audible signals not attributed to impaired peripheral hearing sensitivity or intellectual impairment. This information processing involves perceptual, cognitive, and linguistic functions that, with appropriate interaction, result in effective receptive communication of auditorily presented stimuli. Specifically, CAPD refers to limitations in the ongoing transmission, analysis, organization, transformation, elaboration, storage, retrieval, and use of information contained in audible signals. CAPD may involve the listener's active and passive (e.g., conscious and unconscious, meditated and unmeditated, controlled, and automatic) ability to do the following:

  • attend, discriminate, and identify acoustic signals;

  • transform and continuously transmit information through both the peripheral and central nervous systems;

  • filter, sort and combine information at appropriate perceptual and conceptual levels;

  • store and retrieve information efficiently; restore, organize and use retrieved information;

  • segment and decode acoustic stimuli using phonological, semantic, syntactic and pragmatic knowledge; and

  • attach meaning to a stream of acoustic signals through the use of linguistic and nonlinguistic contexts.

Receptive-expressive language disorder

Impairment in both receptive and expressive language development as demonstrated by scores on standardized measures.

Pervasive developmental disorders

P.D.D. is characterized by severe and pervasive impairments in reciprocal social skills, communication skills and/or the pressure of stereotyped behaviors, interests and activities. Autistic Disorder, Rett's Disorder, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder and Asperger's Disorder are all Pervasive Developmental Disorders. PDD-Not Otherwise Specified is applied when a child does not fully meet the criteria for another disorder but has severe and pervasive impairments.

Pragmatic Language Disorders

Pragmatic language refers to language in its social sense or the use of language appropriate to context. Individuals with pragmatic language disorders have difficulty using language to communicate effectively with others.

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