SPEECH AND LANGUAGE AREAS OF CONCERN
Receptive Language Development
Receptive language is the ability to understand language. Receptive language includes skills such as following directions, answering questions, responding to gestures, participating in conversation, and identifying age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts. A receptive language delay occurs when a chid has difficulty understanding verbal (spoken) and or nonverbal (written, gestural) language.
Expressive Language Development
Expressive language is the ability to produce language. It is based on the content (semantics), form (grammar), and use (pragmatics) of language at different developmental levels. An expressive language delay occurs when a child has difficulty expressing her or his self, answering questions accurately or telling stories.
Articulation refers to the movement of the tongue, lips, jaw, and other speech organs (the articulators) in ways that formulate clear and distinct sounds and words. Speech sound or articulation disorders occur when children continue to have difficulty producing sounds that are expected at a certain age. This can lead to reduced intelligibility of speech and can impact reading and spelling.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech
Childhood apraxia of speech is an impaired ability to plan and sequence the motor movements necessary to produce speech in the absence of any obvious muscular problem. Children with apraxia present with significant difficulty producing sounds, syllables, and words secondary to poor motor planning and sequencing. This typically results in reduced clarity of speech.
Auditory processing refers to the natural process of taking in sound through the ear and having it travel to the language area of the brain to be interpreted. An auditory processing disorder affects how the brain processes spoken language. This may may make it difficult for a child to attend to and process oral messages, remember and follow verbal instructions, filter out background noise, follow directions, discriminate sounds and learn how to read.
Social communication refers to all of the skills we need when using language to communicate and engage in conversations with others. Social communication encompasses using language for a wide range of functions including: conversational skills, understanding shared and assumed knowledge, understanding and using non-verbal communication skills, and understanding implied meaning.
Fluency refers to the smoothness or flow with which sounds, syllables, words and phrases are joined together when speaking. Dysfluency is an interruption within normal fluency of speech. All speakers demonstrate a natural level of dysfluency in their speech, and children can display higher levels of “normal” dysfluency as they are learning to talk and as their language skills are emerging. Some types of dysfluencies are typical in preschoolers as language emerges, and others are not.
Voice refers to the normal pitch, loudness and quality of the sound made by the larynx to produce speech. If a voice is rough or a child runs out of air when she or he is speaking, this may be indicative of a voice problem. Many different things can lead to voice problems for children, such as frequent shouting and poor vocal hygiene.