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In Learning Resources

Communication Difficulties

What are Communication Difficulties?

Communication difficulties refer to a wide range of disorders associated with speech and language skills and the ability to effectively communicate. Speech and language difficulties sometimes can happen due to a medical condition affecting typical speech/language/communication development. For example, cleft palate, hearing impairment, neurological damages can affect speech and language and therefore communication abilities. In severe cases, it can happen when children are deprived of the opportunities to develop language. Or, even if speech and language could develop typically, due to family and social restrictions (e.g., in some cultures, children are not appreciated to communicate freely with adults, which affects motivation to communicate with others), many children may not be good communicators, even when they become adults.

In general, difficulties in any of the following areas can significantly affect a child’s ability to communicate effectively:

  • Hearing difficulty
  • Listening and attention
  • Understanding of language
  • Knowledge of vocabulary and concepts
  • Clear speech–the ability to produce speech sounds in such a way that they can be
    heard clearly
  • The ability to use language meaningfully with attention to grammatical structure
  • Semantics—being aware of the meaning of words, phrases, sentences, and how to use
  • Social awareness of how to use language in an appropriate manner for the context
    (pragmatic skills)
  • Opportunities to use language (conversational practice)
  • Motivation to communicate with others

So, broadly communication difficulties can be categorised in to three groups:

  • Speech difficulties: problems with speech sound production and coordination of
    speech sounds.
  • Language difficulties: problems with using speech sounds to make up meaningful
    words, phrases, sentences and using these structures in the right communication and
    social context
  • Communication difficulties: related to the ability to express oneself clearly

If any of the above is affected significantly, the social and education progress of a child will also be affected. Because language is the means to learning across all areas of the curriculum, so problems with speech, language or communication skills may lead to additional educational difficulties, particularly with literacy. Also, obviously, communication difficulties can impair the ability to initiate and sustain social relationships.

See how we support individuals with learning and/or communication difficulties in “what we do” page. We also support gifted children by working with schools accommodate them in a special way so that they can perform to their full potential.

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