Ms. Moore - Speech Pathologist
According to the National Institute of Health, it is estimated that, in the United States,
- Between 6 and 8 million people in the United States have some form of language impairment. The prevalence of speech sound disorder in young children is 8 to 9 percent. By the first grade, roughly 5 percent of children have noticeable speech disorders; the majority of these speech disorders have no known cause.
Source: Compiled from fact sheets produced by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
Speech pathologists in the school setting provide a wide range of services, mainly on an individual basis, but also as support for families. Speech services begin with initial screening for communication disorders and continue with assessment and diagnosis, intervention and treatment, and sometimes counseling and other consultative follow up services for these disorders. Students within the school setting can receive services for the following communication disorders:
• Articulation - the way we say our speech sounds
• Phonology - the speech patterns we use
• Apraxia - difficulty planning and coordinating the movements needed to make speech sounds
• Fluency - stuttering
• Voice - problems with the way the voice sounds, such as hoarseness
• Receptive Language - difficulty understanding language
• Expressive Language - difficulty using language
• Pragmatic Language - social communication; the way we speak to each other
• Deafness/Hearing Loss - loss of hearing; therapy includes developing lip-reading, speech,
and/or alternative communication systems
• Oral-Motor Disorders - weak tongue and/or lip muscles
Common Speech-Language Pathology Terms
Many words that speech-language pathologists (SLPs) use are unique to their field and the field of special education. Being familiar with some of these terms can help those outside of these fields better
understand what they may read in a report or hear at a conference.
Difference: distinct or different variations of a language (related to speech production—an accent or dialect for example) (Lingling just moved here from China. She is learning to speak English. She has a
Disorder: impairment; atypical language usage as compared to a person that is the same age (Juan just
moved here from Mexico. He had trouble with grammar in Spanish and saw a Speech-Language
Pathologist in Mexico to work on his language skills. He also has trouble with grammar in English. He hasa language disorder.)
Articulation: producing speech sounds (Amanda says the /s/ and /z/ sounds with a “lisp.” We work on her articulation, or pronunciation, in speech/language therapy sessions.)
Phonology: how speech sounds go together/follow patterns to make words (Joey says /t/ for /k/ and /d/
for /g/. His speech does not follow the patterns for how to correctly make the /t/ and /d/ sounds. We work
on his phonology in speech/language therapy sessions.)
Phonological awareness: awareness of individual sounds in spoken words as well as how those sounds
go together and how they can be changed to make new words (Lindsey used her phonological awareness
skills to rhyme “cat” with “bat,” “hat,” “mat,” and “sat.”)
Phonics: relationships between written letters and their spoken sounds (In her phonics lesson, Martie
learned that “phone” is spelled with a /ph/, not an /f/ as in “fone.”)
Organic: the cause of impairment is known (Jimmy has cerebral palsy which affects his speech
production. The cause of his speech errors is organic.)
Functional: the cause of impairment is not known (Sadie has trouble pronouncing the /s/, /z/, /l/, and /r/
sounds. We do not know of any physical reason why she has trouble with saying these sounds correctly.
The cause of her speech errors is functional.)
Fluency: speech that is clear, rhythmic, smooth; effortless or “easy” speech (Meg is working on using her “easy” speech in speech/language therapy sessions to help improve her fluency.)
Dysfluency: also known as “stuttering”; speech that is disrupted or “bumpy” (prolongations, blocks, etc.); effortful speech (Jayson has trouble starting sentences when he is speaking. He says the
first word of the sentence over and over. He has dysfluent speech.)
Accommodations: tools or strategies put in place to help a student complete tasks/achieve goals
(Nicholas receives accommodations such as extended time to take tests and a notetaker.)
Modifications: actual changes made in a task, routine, etc., to help an individual complete tasks/achieve
goals to the best level possible within the general curriculum (Sophie receives modifications such as
shortened tests and reduced assignments in her regular classroom.)
Syntax: grammar (Harry works on his syntax in speech/language therapy sessions. He is learning how
to use regular and irregular verbs properly.)
Semantics: word meaning; vocabulary (Paul has trouble with semantics, particularly knowing the
difference between literal and figurative language. In speech/language therapy, we are working on
understanding figurative language such as the idiom “It’s raining cats and dogs.” )
Augmentative Communication: a device or tool that “adds to” or helps a person communicate (Josie
only says a few words. She uses picture cards to communicate words she does not say. Using picture
cards as augmentative communication helps her parents and teachers know what she needs and wants,
“ice cream” for example.)
Alternative Communication: a new/different type of communication that replaces another form of
communication (speaking) (Mark is unable to speak. He has an electronic board that talks for him. He
types what he wants to say in his alternative communication device then hits “play” to have the device
say what he wrote.)
Oral: refers to spoken language; or can refer to the mouth (Maggie has to give an oral presentation in her
social studies class tomorrow.)
Aural: refers to the ear or the sense of hearing (Maggie’s classmates will listen to her presentation
Home Activities to Improve/Develop Speech and Language Skills:
- Name items to your child or ask them to name them while you are at the grocery store or going for a ride in the car to build up your child’s vocabulary.
- Provide new experiences by taking your children to the zoo, shopping mall, museum, or sporting event and talk to your children about the things you both see
- While reading with your child, explain pictures in a book and ask them questions about the story like, “Who is this? What is he/she doing? Where are they going? What do you think might happen next?”
- Ask your child about their day and what happened in school when you see them. Also tell them about your day.
- Be a good speech model for your children and do not use baby talk. You should always speak in complete sentences, keeping them short and simple for younger children.
- Continue to enhance your children’s experiences and use self-talk when you are doing things or telling how you are feeling and make sure to ask what your child is doing or feeling.
- Play a board game with your children and use the time to help improve their speech and language skills by asking them questions before their turn, such as asking them to describe objects/name categories/name items within a category/say a word correctly/spell a word correctly/use a word in a complete sentence/guess an object you described/provide a rhyming word/name a synonym.
- If a child has trouble labeling an object or remembering the name, try using a phonemic cue by supplying the first sound of the word to help trigger the word quicker. If the object/word the child is trying to remember is not within view, ask the child to describe it or tell the function of the object, so you can maybe guess the word.
- Have your child cut pictures from a magazine and have them decide what type of “wh” question the picture would be, including “who”, “where”, “what”, “’when”. Then make a chart with these columns and place the picture in the correct column.