Signs of a Speech Concern:

  • Problems with the following four categories may indicate a speech disorder in any age:

    Voice: The child’s voice is abnormally high or loud
    Language: The child has trouble conveying ideas and understanding the ideas or instructions conveyed by others
    Articulation: The child produces sounds incorrectly, like subbing “w” in for “l” and “r” or lisping
    Fluency: The child has trouble mastering the normal “flow” of language, stopping and starting, repeating, prolonging, or inhaling and exhaling inappropriately

    According to the MN Department of Education - Students may be eligible to receive services within the school setting if specific categorical requirements and criteria for speech or language impairments eligibility are met.

    Speech disorders may fall into one or more of these categories, so look for signs such as:

    • Parents can understand the child, but you cannot
    • Trouble putting words together into phrases and sentences, even if the student can say them clearly
    • Inability to express ideas or understand the ideas of adults, peers, books, videos, or other sources of speech
    • Trouble retaining new vocabulary words and routinely dropping ones that were already learned
    • Smaller vocabulary than is age-appropriate
    • Inappropriate use of grammar
    • Routinely using words incorrectly (though some incorrect word usage is developmentally appropriate)
    • Trouble using an “inside voice”
    • Hearing or seeing a word but not understanding the meaning
    • Confusion or inappropriate responses to questions or directions
    • Poor social interaction
    • Trouble reading

    Signs will vary with age, but if you notice a student whose language comprehension and use of speech is significantly behind his/her peers, it may be time to refer him/her to speech therapy.


Speech-Language Pathology Service Delivery Areas


    This list of practice areas and the bulleted examples are not comprehensive. Current areas of practice, such as literacy, have continued to evolve, whereas other new areas of practice are emerging. Please refer to the ASHA Practice Portal for a more extensive list of practice areas.


    • Stuttering
    • Cluttering

    Speech Production

    • Motor planning and execution
    • Articulation
    • Phonological

    Language- Spoken and written language (listening, processing, speaking, reading, writing, pragmatics)

    • Phonology
    • Morphology
    • Syntax
    • Semantics
    • Pragmatics (language use and social aspects of communication)
    • Prelinguistic communication (e.g., joint attention, intentionality, communicative signaling)
    • Paralinguistic communication (e.g., gestures, signs, body language)
    • Literacy (reading, writing, spelling)


    • Attention
    • Memory
    • Problem-solving
    • Executive functioning


    • Phonation quality
    • Pitch
    • Loudness
    • Alaryngeal voice


    • Hypernasality
    • Hyponasality
    • Cul-de-sac resonance
    • Forward focus

    Feeding and Swallowing

    • Oral phase
    • Pharyngeal phase
    • Esophageal phase
    • Atypical eating (e.g., food selectivity/refusal, negative physiologic response)

    Auditory Habilitation/Rehabilitation

    • Speech, language, communication, and listening skills impacted by hearing loss, deafness
    • Auditory processing


For more information, please contact:

Local Speech Therapy Services:

  • Carris Health Rehabilitation Center
    300 Minnesota Ave SW, Willmar, MN 56201
    (320) 231-4175

    Reading Therapy Center
    615 Becker Ave SW, Willmar, MN 56201
    (320) 214-7011