A speech impairment refers to any type of disorder that involves the quality of speech that adversely affects educational performance. Speech impairments can be categorized by one or more categories pertaining to speech quality: Sound system disorder, speech voice and/or speech fluency.
A sound system disorder is present when a child exhibits a delay in sound production including articulation and/or phonology. In other words, a child is unable to make the sounds that are age appropriate to his or her peers.
Speech fluency disorders refer to impairments that affect the flow or rhythm of typical speech, such as stuttering. Examples of dysfluency can include repetitions, prolongations, blockages or hesitations.
Voice disorders are exhibited through deviations in one or more of the parameters of voice – pitch, quality or volume. Children with a voice disorder may have heightened nasality to their speech or have difficulty regulating the volume of their speech.