What is speech and language?
Speech is the verbal means of communicating. Speech consists of the following:
- Articulation- How speech sounds are made (e.g., children must learn how to produce the "r" sound in order to say "rabbit" instead of "wabbit").
- Voice- Use of the vocal folds and breathing to produce sound (e.g., the voice can be abused from overuse or misuse and can lead to hoarseness or loss of voice).
- Fluency- The rhythm of speech (e.g., hesitations or stuttering can affect fluency).
Language is made up of socially shared rules that include the following:
- Word meaning (e.g., "star" can refer to a bright object in the night sky or a celebrity)
- Making new words (e.g., friend, friendly, unfriendly)
- Putting words together (e.g., "Peg walked to the new store" rather than "Peg walk store new")
- Using appropriate word combinations ("Would you mind moving your foot?" could quickly change to "Get off my foot, please!" if the first request did not produce results)
When a person has trouble understanding others (receptive language); sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings completely (expressive language); and/or using language appropriately in social situations, then he or she may have a language disorder.
When a person is unable to produce speech sounds correctly or fluently, or has problems with his or her voice, then he or she may have a speech disorder.
A speech-language pathologist provides services to address speech and language needs. To best meet each student's needs, services can be provided:
*in a small group
*in the classroom (push-in)
*in a therapy room (pull-out)