Speech-language therapy focuses on receptive language, which is the ability to understand words spoken to you. The second facet is expressive language, or the ability to use words to express yourself. It also deals with the mechanics of producing words, including articulation, pitch, fluency, and volume. Speech and language are the result of coordinating your lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal tract. Sometimes we take speech for granted because most of us pick up on it so easily, but for kids who struggle it can be a daunting obstacle. Typically, disorders of speech sound acquisition occur during the preschool years, so keep close tabs on your child during this stage. Use the resources above to find out what to look for in your developing child.
What does it mean when an SLP says my child has a speech disorder? A speech disorder can be classified by a person having problems producing a speech sound correctly or fluently, or having problems with his or her voice. Speech is the verbal means of communicating and consists of the following:
- Articulation: refers to how speech sounds are made (children must learn how to make the “r” sound to say the word read)
- Voice: refers to the use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (the voice can be abused or misused)
- Fluency: refers to the rhythm of speech (hesitations, stuttering, etc)
What does is mean when an SLP says my child has a language disorder? When a person is struggling to understand others (receptive language), or sharing thoughts, ideas and feelings completely (expressive language), then he or she has a language disorder. Language is made up of socially shared rules that inlude the following:
- What words mean? (star can refer to the star in the sky or a celebrity)
- How to make new words? (sick, sickly, sickness)
- How to put words together? (Amanda like eat fruit vs Amanda likes to eat fruit)
- What word combinations are best in what situations? (Would you mind moving your foot please? Vs Get off my foot now!
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