Speech & Language Therapy Terms

Common terms used in Speech & Language Therapy practice


Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological condition characterized by difficulty with attention, concentration, physical activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. These children may not pay attention in tasks or complete tasks. They may miss details and lack organization in tasks. The children with ADD may be easily distractible. Those with…
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Auditory Processing Disorder

Children with auditory processing difficulties have challenges interpreting what they hear. They have intact outer, middle, inner ears and auditory nerves, which allow them to correctly hear the information, but the breakdown occurs beyond this level in the brainstem and brain. The child may have difficulty perceiving speech or sounds in noise. They may have…
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Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder is a disorder caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. The term “spectrum” reflects the wide variation in challenges and strengths possessed by each person with Autism. While it is thought that Classic Autism begins in infancy and Regressive Autism occurs in early childhood between twelve and twenty-four…
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Developmental Apraxia of Speech

Developmental apraxia is a speech disorder in which the child struggles to sequence and say sounds, syllables, words and even sentences. The brain struggles to send signals to the articulators (lips, tongue, jaw) for the movements necessary for speech production. The child is well aware of what they want to say, but are unable to…
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Language Disorders

Receptive language problems occur when a child has difficulty understanding what words mean or what is said to them. They may be challenged following directions or learning concepts. Expressive language problems occur when a child has difficulty making words using the correct grammar (jumped, friend, friendly, unfriendly). Some children have difficulty combining words to make…
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Learning Disability

Learning Disability is a broad term that includes: Learning disabilities affect the child’s ability to learn in school. Difficulty with spoken and written language, attention, and visual perception often indicate a learning problem. Academically, these children are often behind in school in learning to read, write or do math. Reading Disorders are characterized by challenges…
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Oral Motor / Feeding Problems

Parents are often the first to notice feeding problems. Poor feeding may mean that the child has difficulty chewing, or drinking from a bottle or a cup. Some children may choke or gag on food while others drool and food spills out of the mouth. At times it may be the texture of the food…
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Social Communication Disorder

A social communication disorder may also be known as a pragmatic language disorder. Children that have pragmatic language disorders have trouble with the functional use of language for communication. It is characterized by difficulties with the use of verbal and nonverbal language for social purposes. Primary difficulties are in social interaction, social cognition, and pragmatics….
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Speech Disorders

Speech problems occur when one has difficulty with pronunciation of words, and even the intelligibility of speech in conversation. When a child has difficulty forming a sound, this is called an articulation disorder or phonological disorder. Individuals with speech disorders may also have trouble with the way their voices sound. There may be difficulties with…
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Stuttering is a speech disorder that is characterized by repetition of sounds, syllables, parts of words, whole words, and phrases. Some children will also have prolongations or stretching of sounds of syllables. Tense pauses, or hesitations may or may not occur. Reactions that accompany stuttering such as eye blinking, tremors of the lips, and foot…
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Voice Disorder

Voice problems occur when the child’s voice has an inappropriate pitch (too high or too low), loudness, or resonance. For some children a voice disorder may be characterized by an unusually low pitch and chronically hoarse voice. Perhaps they became hoarse by cheering at a football game and the hoarse voice did not go away….
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