Family Resources

Specializing and providing services to all ages and communication disorders

Definitions of Terms


Apraxia of speech is a motor-speech programming disorder resulting in difficulty executing and/or coordinating (sequencing) the oral-motor movements necessary to produce and combine speech sounds (phonemes) to form syllables, words, phrases and sentences on voluntary (rather than only reflexive) control. Many children are able to hear words, and are able to understand what they mean, but they can’t change what they hear into the fine-motor skill of combining consonants and vowels to form words. This difficulty combining consonants and vowels into words upon direct imitation is called apraxia of speech. More Info on Apraxia


Articulation is the formation of sounds used for speech production. An articulation problem exists when a person produces sounds, syllables, or words incorrectly. The incorrect production of sounds can cause listeners to have difficulty understanding what is being said and to pay more attention to the sounds of the words than to their meaning. More Info on Articulation

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) / (ADHD)

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition characterized by lack of attention and concentration, increased activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. This disorder interferes with a person’s ability to function in daily activities at work, school, and home. ADD or ADHD also affect personal relationships, the ability to complete homework assignments, and participation in extra-curricular or work activities. To be diagnosed properly, symptoms must be consistently observed for six months or longer and be present in multiple settings. Attention deficit disorder may be divided into three sub-categories: a predominately inattentive type, a predominantly hyperactive or impulsive type, and a combined type with both decreased attention and hyperactivity. ADD or ADHD often occur in conjunction with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, or learning disabilities. More Info on ADD

Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory processing describes what happens when the brain recognizes and interprets sounds from the environment. Sounds traveling through the ear become electrical information that can be interpreted by the brain. The “disorder” part of auditory processing disorder (APD) means that something is adversely affecting the processing or interpretation of auditory information. Experts estimate that this condition affects more than 3 million school-aged children and countless adults. More Info on A.P.D.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Recent studies suggest that as many as 1 in every 150 babies will develop some degree of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by the age of three. ASD is a broad spectrum of disorders that affect the development of social interaction and communication skills. This disorder usually becomes evident during the first three years of life. Individuals with ASD generally exhibit difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interaction, behavior, and leisure or play activities. ASD includes autistic disorder, pervasive developmental disorders (PDD), and Asperger’s Syndrome. More Info on Autism


Dysarthria is a speech disorder resulting from weak or poorly coordinated muscles of the mouth, face, larynx and respiratory system. Dysarthria can affect all motor speech processes: breathing, articulation, resonance, and the rhythm of speech (prosody). Speech may be slow, imprecise, slurred and uncoordinated. The voice may be soft or monotone. There may be limited movement of the tongue, lips, and jaw. Dysarthria is a neuromuscular impairment that can affect children and adults and can be caused by a stroke, brain injury, or disease. More Info on Dysarthria


Dyslexia refers to learning problems associated with reading. A person with dyslexia has difficulty identifying words quickly and accurately. This lack of word identification often translates into difficulty in reading, writing, spelling, math, or organization despite the individual’s high level of intelligence. More Info on Dyslexia


Dyspraxia is a motor planning disorder in which VOLUNTARY muscle movement is impaired WITHOUT muscle weakness. Dyspraxia may be verbal, oral, or both, and may be developmental or acquired. Verbal dyspraxia is the loss of ability to consistently position the articulators (face, tongue, lips, jaw) for speech sound production and for sequencing those sounds into syllables and words. Children who do not reach developmental speech milestones and are unable to produce consonant sounds may be dyspraxic. Oral dyspraxia affects one’s ability to move the muscles of the mouth on command for non-speech purposes, such as coughing, swallowing, wiggling the tongue, or blowing a kiss. Developmental Dyspraxia occurs in children and is present from birth. Acquired Dyspraxia occurs as a result of brain damage caused by conditions such as stroke, head injury, brain tumor, toxin, or infection. More Info on Dyspraxia

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is a pattern of mental and physical defects which develops in some unborn babies when the mother drinks too much alcohol during pregnancy. A baby born with FAS may be seriously handicapped and require a lifetime of special care. Some babies with alcohol-related birth defects, including smaller body size, lower birth weight, and other impairments, do not have all of the classic FAS symptoms. These symptoms are sometimes referred to as Fetal Alcohol Effects (FAE). Researchers do not all agree on the precise distinctions between FAS and FAE cases.

Possible FAS Symptoms:
Growth deficiencies: small body size and weight, slower than normal development and failure to catch up.

Skeletal deformities: deformed ribs and sternum; curved spine; hip dislocations; bent, fused, webbed, or missing fingers or toes; limited movement of joints; small head.

Facial abnormalities: small eye openings; skin webbing between eyes and base of nose; drooping eyelids; nearsightedness; failure of eyes to move in same direction; short upturned nose; sunken nasal bridge; flat or absent groove between nose and upper lip; thin upper lip; opening in roof of mouth; small jaw; low-set or poorly formed ears.

Organ deformities: heart defects; heart murmurs; genital malformations; kidney and urinary defects.

Central nervous system handicaps: small brain; faulty arrangement of brain cells and connective tissue; mental retardation — usually mild to moderate but occasionally severe; learning disabilities; short attention span; irritability in infancy; hyperactivity in childhood; poor body, hand, and finger coordination. More Info on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Learning disabilities

The terms learning disability, learning disabilities, and learning disorders (LD) refer to a group of disorders that affect a wide range of academic and functional skills that include the ability to speak, read, write, spell, listen, reason and to organize and process information.

As the term is generally understood in the US, learning disability is not indicative of low intelligence. Research shows that some people with learning disabilities may have average or above-average intelligence. Causes of learning disabilities include a deficit in the brain that affects the processing of information.

Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders are a result from damage to the nervous system. The nervous system is a complex, sophisticated system that regulates and coordinates the body’s basic functions and activities. It is made up of two major divisions. The central nervous system (consisting of the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (consisting of all other neural elements). More Info on Neurological Disorders

Traumatic/ Mild-Traumatic Brain injury

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation. (National institute of Health/ NIH.GOV) More Info on Traumatic Brain injury


Aphasia is a disorder that results from damage to portions of the brain that are responsible for language. For most people, these are areas on the left side (hemisphere) of the brain. Aphasia usually occurs suddenly, often as the result of a stroke or head injury, but it may also develop slowly, as in the case of a brain tumor, an infection, or dementia. The disorder impairs the expression and understanding of language as well as reading and writing. Aphasia may co-occur with speech disorders such as dysarthria or apraxia of speech, which also result from brain damage. More Info on Aphasia

Tongue thrust Myofunctional Therapy

Tongue thrust is a common name used to describe orofacial muscular imbalance. It has also been called reverse swallow or immature swallow. Nearly all infants swallow by pushing the tongue forward. By the time they reach the age of six, most children have automatically changed to a normal swallowing pattern, which involves squeezing the tongue against the roof of the mouth instead of pushing it forward against the teeth. (H.S.D.C. More Info on Tongue thrust

Feeding therapy

Pediatric feeding therapy is treatment provided by a licensed speech-language pathologist for any child who has trouble with the complex process of eating. Feeding is the only task for children that requires all seven senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, proprioception, and interoception), and the coordination of nearly all of the body’s systems. This complicated task is vital to life and growth.

Feeding therapy is often provided for children with gastrointestinal, respiratory, cardiac, motor and sensory issues. Children with autism or sensory processing disorder may require patient, play-based, non-threatening therapy to overcome food aversions and add more foods to their diets. Children with cerebral palsy, Down’s syndrome or another disorder may require methodical, careful treatment to train and strengthen safe, effective chewing and swallowing patterns. Some children without medical complications may need a little help to learn an organized chewing pattern in order to move from baby foods to solid foods. Premature or sick infants may require assistance and compensatory strategies to coordinate the suck-swallow-breathe cycle with a breast or bottle. More Info on Feeding therapy

Family Resources

California Department of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS)

Far Northern Regional Center

Valley Oak Children’s Services

Alta California Regional Center

Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center

Westside Regional Center

For OC Kids


American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM)

Autism Society of America (ASA)


Autism Speaks

National Down Syndrome Society Syndrome Society (NDSS)

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)

National Organization of Down Syndrome Syndrome (NADS)

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)

American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)