Article Written By: Victoria Mannella-Gupta
Did you know the words “Speech” and “Language” are not synonymous? You may have heard the title “Speech-Language Pathologist” shortened to “speech therapist” or “language therapist”. Although Speech-Language Pathologists do a lot more than just “speech” and “language”, these two words do not mean the same thing and are therefore not interchangeable!
How we say sounds and words
One of the ways humans can express language
Difficulty with articulation, voice, and fluency (stuttering) can be a speech disorder
It is important to look at speech milestones
-->If a child says “I fink” instead of “I think” at 3 years old, this does not mean
they have a speech disorder
--> However, if the child says “I fink” at age 6, this is an articulation error and therefore a speech problem
Did you know we use approximately 100 muscles to speak?
We use our stomach muscles, lungs, larynx, tongue, teeth, lips, and nose*
The words we use and how we use them
Language can be spoken, signed, or written
A language disorder is having difficulty understanding what words mean and having trouble using them such as putting words together into sentences, using correct pronouns, formulating questions etc.
Reading and writing difficulties can also be a language disorder
Speech and Language do not always occur together!
A child has difficulty saying their R sound (speech disorder)
An adult had a stroke resulting in slurred speech (speech disorder)
A child speaks clearly but has difficulty using the correct word order (language disorder)
An adult had a stroke resulting in difficulty comprehending speech (language disorder)
How do I know my child has a speech or language disorder?
Milestones are key for understanding when a child’s speech or language difficulty is typical for their age
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) is a great resource for early identification of speech, language, or hearing disorders: https://www.asha.org/public/early-identification-of-speech-language-and-hearing-disorders/
Below are some speech and language milestones to help guide you
* Super Duper Handy Handouts: https://www.superduperinc.com/handouts/pdf/236_HowDoWeTalk.pdf
** American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)2: https://www.asha.org/public/early-identification-of-speech-language-and-hearing-disorders/