West Bridgewater Public Schools
Definition of “Speech or Language Impairment” under IDEA
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, defines the term “speech or language impairment” as follows:
“(11) Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.” [34 CFR §300.8(c)(11]
There are many kinds of speech and language disorders that can affect children. These disorders are described below:
Articulation: Children with articulation impairments may substitute one sound for another, omit sounds from words, distort sounds, or add sounds to words.
Fluency: When a child is dysfluent the smooth flow of speech is disrupted. The child may produce sounds, syllables, and words that are repeated or prolonged. The child may avoid saying certain words or sounds. The child may exhibit silent blocks or inappropriate inhalation, exhalation, or phonation patterns.
Voice: A child with a voice impairement may exhibit such vocal characteristics as an abnormal quality to pitch, resonance, or loudness. A voice disorder may be the result of inappropriate use of the voice (yelling, singing, etc.). A voice disorder is diagnosed by a physician.
Language: A child with an expressive language impairment has problems expressing needs, ideas, and information. A child with a receptive language impairment has difficulty understanding what others say. A child can have both a receptive and expressive language impairment.