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Should I Be Concerned With My Child’s Speech?

As a parent, everyone wants the best for their child. They want their child to grow and Blog-Speech-Concerns-Main-Landscapedevelop appropriately, and flourish socially and academically. One component to success is your child’s ability to effectively communicate their wants, needs, and ideas. Which begs the question, when should you be concerned with your child’s speech and language development? In a world where no child is the same, one thing is for certain: early intervention is better than late intervention, and late intervention is better than no intervention at all. Look for these red flags early in development.

  • Difficulty following directions
  • Difficulty answering questions
  • Difficulty understanding gestures and nonverbal cues
  • Difficulty engaging in conversation
  • Difficulty identifying age-appropriate vocabulary and concepts
  • Frustration when communicating

Expressive Language

More specifically, children should be babbling between 6 and 8 months, with their first words produced around the age of 12 months. By 18 months, your child should possess an expressive vocabulary (spoken words) of approximately 50 words. Two-word combinations are expected around 24 months, with an expressive vocabulary growing to about 300 words. By the time your child is 36 months old, expect 3-5 word combinations (or more!), with most adult language structures mastered around 60 months (5 years).

Receptive Language

Children should follow basic commands around 12 months (“Come here”), and use gestures to communicate along with a few real words. They should be demonstrating comprehension of common objects and animals, by following commands involving those items or identifying them in books (puppy, cup, shoes, etc.) around 18 months of age. Look for your child to answer questions, ask questions, and talk about their day around the age of 3 years.

Articulation

It is typical for a young child (1-2 years) to have some sound errors in their speech. However, by the age of 3, a child’s speech should be at least 75% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener, and more intelligible to familiar listeners. By age 3, a child should have the following sounds mastered: /b, d, h, m, n, p, f, g, k, t, w/. All speech sounds should be mastered by age 8.

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

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Frustration-Free Communication With Your Toddler

There’s no question about it, and there’s no reason to feel guilty for thinking it: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. To repeat: communicating with a toddler can be frustrating. Every parent feels this frustration at some point, as do many toddlers! Toddlers are aware of what they want, but they often have trouble conveying these desires to care givers. It is important to remember: it’s ok! Toddlers acquire language each and every day as they are exposed to new words, and, with that, their vocabulary grows.

During this time of rapid language development, there are a few tips to support and encourage language, while also reducing frustration for BOTH communicative partners.

Tips for Frustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler:

  • Reduce the demand: When a child is trying to explain wants and needs, she may feel pressuredFrustration-Free Communication with Your Toddler to verbalize her choices or may just not feel like talking. That’s ok! If a parent is unable to elicit a verbal response, he or she may try reducing the demand! Accept pointing as an alternative, so long as the child is staying compliant with what is being asked of him.
  • Approximate: When a child is attempting to verbalize with a parent, words may often be distorted or syllables may be missing, resulting in immature speech. This is expected in toddlers, but parents can encourage approximation. For example, if a child attempts to say “door,” but instead says “do,” parents can praise their child for trying and respond with “yes, let’s open the door!” Similarly, if a toddler requests “oo na,” parents can reply, “oh, do you want fruit snacks?”
  • Model: When children are acquiring expressive language, parents should be modeling appropriate requests and verbal turn-taking throughout the day. During play, parents can express “my turn,” to encourage toddlers to initiate taking turns and labeling actions. Parents can also model requests, for example, “I want more, Molly. Do you want more?” in order to encourage toddlers to imitate.
  • Provide choices: Offering choices can help to limit toddler frustration during communication. If choices are finite, toddlers won’t have to search through their growing—but sometimes inadequate—vocabulary to retrieve words. If offered, for example, apples or bananas, toddlers will feel the independence to make the decision that they desire. Simultaneously, parents are able to quickly and efficiently learn what their toddlers want.
  • Gesture: It can be frustrating for both parents and toddlers when language demands are placed. If a toddler doesn’t feel like saying “hi” to Uncle Andrew or giving him a hug that day, accept a wave of the hand or a high-five. These gestures are still intentional communication; that is, they still promote social development. Just encourage socialization and more verbalization the next time!

These tips can help to reduce frustration for both parents and toddlers. If parents find that they are unable to understand 50% of what their toddler is trying to communicate, a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP) can help! This time with your toddlers should be fun, and SLPs can help to make things easier for toddlers to express their wants and needs. Comment below if you have any other frustration-free communication tips!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

language development throughout the day

5 Easy Ways to Encourage Your Baby’s Language Throughout the Day

Language is used everywhere around us, in multiple ways and in all facets of life. How does your little one learn language when she is so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed? When you think about talking to your baby, it may seem a bit silly since she isn’t talking back. However, she is communicating with you in other ways, such as with eye gaze, coos, and smiles. Interacting and speaking to your baby throughout the day is thought to facilitate language acquisition. It has been found that the amount of words addressed to 1- to- 2-year olds by their mothers is predictive of their vocabulary growth rate (Huttenlocher, Haight, Bryk, Seltzer, & Lyons, 1991).

Here are 5 easy ways to encourage your baby’s language development throughout the day:

  1. Use infant-directed speech: Also known as motherese, this is speech that is directed specifically at your baby5 easy ways to encourage your babies language throughout the day in a prosodic and deliberate manner. Research has shown that babies actually prefer motherese to its counterpart, adult-directed speech.
  1. Read books: Interacting and exposing your baby to books and the act of reading is a great way to encourage language. At this age, picture books are ideal and facilitate early learning of concepts such as colors, numbers, and animals. It also helps teach book orientation and direction of reading.
  1. Label: Give your child the names for common objects and objects that they are consistently exposed to. This input increases receptive language which will in turn increase expressive language. Thanks to fast-mapping (the ability to learn words with minimal exposure), typically-developing toddlers require minimal exposure to new words in order to learn their meaning and use them appropriately.
  1. Sing songs: Singing songs to your child such as ‘Rock a Bye Baby’ and ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ not only provides comfort but also includes exposure to repetitive language models.
  1. Use simple language: When speaking to your baby, use simple language by communicating in words and/or short phrases. This limits the amount of language that the child has to process and allows them to focus on the important parts of the message.

Before you know it (and before you may be ready for it), your baby will be talking, walking, and going to school. Facilitate their language learning by utilizing the tips mentioned above. If you become concerned (lack of interest, eye contact, gestures, and/or speech sounds, among others) with your baby’s language and speech skills, seek an evaluation with a certified speech and language pathologist.


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Click here to view our speech and language milestone infographic!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Reference: Huttenlocher, J., Haight, W., Bryk, A., Seltzer, M., & Lyons, T. (1991). Early vocabulary growth: Relation to language input and gender. Developmental Psychology, 27, 236-248.

5 things you didn't know about how your baby learns language

5 Things You Didn’t Know About How Your Baby Learns Language

Has your child ever surprised you with his knowledge and actions, or used a word that you thought he had never heard before? Have you ever thought, ‘My child is a genius’? If so, I have to agree that children and the way that they develop language skills is quite impressive!

Here are 5 things you didn’t know about how your baby learnslanguage development language:

  1. Babies cannot learn language from iPads and TV. Although there are many apps available that target language skills, they do not replace human interaction. Patricia Kuhl and her research team concluded that language learning takes place in a social context (interaction with a person!) (Roehrich, 2013). Their research has shown that American babies exposed to non-native sounds (sounds not in their primary language) in a face-to-face context were able to learn to distinguish these sounds from their native sounds. However, when presented with the non-native sounds via audiovisual and audio recordings only, they were not able to distinguish between the two.
  2. Motherese works. Motherese (also known as baby talk or infant directed speech) is spoken by mothers around the world. Is there a purpose to this talk? The answer is yes! Motherese helps babies to learn the sounds, patterns, and intonation of their language. The prosody of motherese is thought to facilitate processing in domains such as word segmentation (Thiessen, Hill, & Saffran, 2005) and word learning (Graf-Estes, 2008).
  3. Babies start learning language in the womb. Believe it or not, the number of neurons (nerve cells) in our brains peaks before we are even born!  Babies have a critical period for learning sounds in their native language, and this critical period occurs before your child turns 1 year old. This period begins when your baby first develops the ability to hear (around 16 weeks after conception). Before this critical period, babies are able to discriminate between any sounds in any language. At approximately the age of 8-10 months, babies are pruning connections in their brain and fine-tuning the connections that are used most frequently. This is why, after the critical period, your baby no longer has the ability to discriminate sounds in native and non-native languages. When your baby is 6 months old, they have an ability that you as an adult do not have! (Roehrich, 2013)
  4. Babies communicate via eye gaze. Have you ever wondered how your baby communicates without using words (or cries?) The answer is eye gaze! Eye gaze is one of the first ways that a baby and their mother connect socially. Babies show preference for items and people by demonstrating longer eye gaze towards a person or object. When they are a little older, babies also use joint attention and gestures to communicate. This is demonstrated by the baby looking at a preferred object, then making eye contact with their communication partner, and then back to the preferred object again, attempting to draw the adult’s attention to their preferred object.
  5. Toddlers fast-map. During the second year of life, toddlers learn and retain new words after minimal exposure to the word and its use. This enables them to expand their receptive and expressive vocabularies at a rapid rate.

Watch this TED Talk that provides additional information about how babies learn language. If you are concerned with your child’s language skills, consult a speech and language pathologist!

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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!  

References: 

 

Language Development Red Flags: Ages 0-36 Months

Have you ever wondered if your child is on track for “typical” language development? The following red flag checklist can help give you a general idea if your child is not following typical patterns of development. It is important to note that some children develop language a few months earlier or later than these general guidelines.

Red Flags for Language Development by 3-4 months:red flags for language development

  1. Child does not react to sudden noises
  2. Child does not turn head to sounds such as a bell or a rattle
  3. Child is not quieted by a caregivers voice
  4. Child does not seem to look at faces or objects- the baby should track items or people in her line of vision
  5. The baby seems unusually quiet, no cooing
  6. The baby as not developed “different” cries to signify different needs i.e. hungry, tired, distress, etc.
  7. The child has not developed a smile response to familiar caregiver
  8. The child does not use her voice to attract attention

Red Flags for Language Development by 14 months:

  1. Child does not follow simple directions such as, “give” or “come”
  2. Child does not seem to understand simple gestures of “hi” or “bye”
  3. Child does not have interest in simple books and simple pictures
  4. Baby does not seem to communicate other than crying
  5. Baby does not use simple gestures such as waving for bye-bye or hi, pointing, reaching, showing
  6. Child does not produce a variety of consonant or vowel sounds and/or does not produce sounds frequently
  7. Child does not use 2 to 8 words spontaneously
  8. Child does not communicate in a variety of ways such as facial expressions, eye gazing, or gestures

Red Flags for Language Development by 28-30 months:

  1. Child shows inconsistent response to words or directions
  2. Child needs repetition
  3. Chid gives inappropriate responses to simple ‘wh’ questions such as who is this? What is this?
  4. Child is not interested in simple stories
  5. Child seems to easily forget familiar routines
  6. Child becomes easily frustrated during communication exchanges
  7. Child mostly relies on yelling, grunting, or incoherent utterances for communication
  8. Words do not seem like adult words or may be part words i.e. “Da” for dog
  9. The child uses the same pseudo word or short syllable to represent many different things i.e. “ba” for boy, ball and baby
  10. Child is unable to name most familiar items
  11. Child has no clear “yes” or “no” response
  12. Child has less than 200 words and lacks steady vocabulary
  13. Child may have “lost” some speech

Red Flags for Language Development by 36 months:

  1. Is unable to follow more complex directions i.e., get your coat then go to the car
  2. Lacks interest in or does not remember simple and familiar stories, songs, nursery rhymes
  3. Does not understand the difference between who, what and where questions
  4. Is overly dependent on parents or siblings for communication
  5. Persists in babbling in place of adult speech “bibi” for baby
  6. Clarity of the child’s speech decreases as the child attempts longer utterances
  7. Is not speaking in sentences of three to four words
  8. Is not beginning to use simple grammar- articles, verb endings, plurals, pronouns
  9. Less than 800 words
  10. Is not easily picking up new vocabulary

If you believe your child meets the criteria of this red flag checklist for their age, please speak with a professional speech and language pathologist who can thoroughly evaluate their language development. As mentioned previously, children may develop a few months earlier or later than the time frames outlined by this checklist.

Click here to download our speech and language milestone infographic!

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today! 

speech and language activities

5 Quick And Easy Speech And Language Activities

The amount of language that happens naturally throughout our day is immense. Even some of the most classic childhood past times involve fundamental speech and language skills. The ultimate goal of speech-language therapy is for your child to generalize the speech and language skills he is learning in the therapy room to his day to day life. By incorporating several minutes of targeted speech-language practice into your child’s life, the better the prognosis it is for your child to be successful! Try one of these easy speech-language activities at home and your child might not even realize they are practicing his language!

5 quick and easy speech and language activities:speech and language activities

  1. Categories Game – Choose a general vocabulary category, such as food or animals, and try to come up with as many items within that category as possible. If your child becomes stumped, provide him with semantic clues, for example, “Can you think of other farm animals?” or “What animal lives in a jungle and has stripes?”. The category game is an easy way to increase a child’s semantic network and to introduce him to new vocabulary words. The game can even become competitive by keeping track of the number of items stated and trying to increase that number each week.
  1. Simon Says – This classic game targets a core skill in a child’s receptive language – following directions. This game can be made simple by using one-step directions (e.g., “Clap your hands 3 times) or made more challenging, progressing to two-three step directions (e.g., “Clap your hands 3 times and turn around in a circle). Improving a child’s receptive language will have a positive impact on his ability to succeed in the classroom.
  1. I Spy – Increasing a child’s utterance length, such as increasing a child’s average utterance from three to four word sentences, is a common goal in speech-language therapy. The game “I Spy” is a great way to work on a child’s expressive language in a fun way. The game can be tailored to a child’s skill level – working on 3-word sentences (“I see cat”) or progressing to a 5-word sentence (“I see a brown cat”).  Descriptive words can also be incorporated. The best part of this game is that it can be used for improving advanced language as well, such as using complex sentences (“I see something that is brown).
  1. Board games – Any activity that involves taking turns provides a great way to practice using pronouns. During a game have someone announce whose turn it is – “It is my turn”, “It is your turn”. Not only can it be used to announce turns, but also to describe the items that people have, “I have three pieces and you have two pieces”. As a child’s language skills improve, third-person pronouns can be practiced, such as “It’s her/his turn” or “She/He is on a blue square”.
  1. Decorating a Letter – If a child has articulation or speech sound goals, these skills can also be easily practiced. Cut a block letter out of construction paper that is the same as your child’s speech goals. Go through a magazine to search for items that have that target sound within its name – in the beginning, middle or end. For example, if your child is working on saying the “k” sound at the beginning of words, look for pictures of items that have that sound – cat, can, kangaroo, etc. Cut the pictures out and glue them on your letter! The decorated letter can then be hung up and referenced at later times for additional practice.

Check in with your child’s speech-language therapist to ensure the activity is appropriate for your child. He or she may have suggestions on how to best adapt the game or activity to your child’s skill level.


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NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Expressive Language

Expressive Language: What is it?

Speech and language pathologists may use the term “expressive language” when describing the needs of your child. To better understand expressive language it is important to understand its definition and use.  Expressive language is the output of language to communicate a want, need, thought, or idea.

Expressive language is a combination of one or more of the following features:Expressive Language

  1. What words mean: Language is symbolic by nature, therefore, each word represents an idea, item, verb, emotion, etc. Children first need to understand that when they say the word apple, they are representing the actual object of an apple.
  2. How to put words together: Understanding how to put words together is the next step to acquiring expressive language. In order to communicate more extensive or intricate ideas, children often need to combine words. For example, children learn that by saying “more milk” or “all done” they can relay more complex messages.
  3. How to make new words: Understanding that words can be changed to represent a new idea is another feature of expressive language. For example, children often struggle to properly use past tense of verbs. The word friend can be changed to friendly or unfriendly to represent new concepts.
  4. What word combinations are best for different situations: Children learn that in order to effectively communicate, they need to adjust their use of language depending on their surroundings. For example, children may say, “I want a cookie now!” while at home. However, at a birthday party with an unfamiliar adult children may say, “may I please have a cookie?”. This understanding of the social use of language is critical for children and often takes years to fully develop.

Understanding the use of language is extremely complex and can often be difficult for children. A speech and language pathologist can help assess if your child is struggling to properly learn or utilize the features of language.


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NSPT offers speech and language services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

How to Adapt a Book to Support Language Development

Books have long been considered an avenue for enhancing language development. Books provide children a way to learn more vocabulary, explore new things and enhance their literacy development. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Books by themselves are great therapeutic activities, however, at times more interaction is required to help children with speech and language disorders engage with the stories they are listening to. By adapting a book, you are providing a child with additional ways to interact with the story, words and language within its pages. Greater interaction will ultimately lead to increased comprehension and improved language development (Delsandro, 2013).

How to Adapt a Book:

There is no correct way to adapt a book, in fact, books can often be adapted several different ways. Once you have a book that you would like to adapt, you need to decide which aspect of the story you want make more “interactive” or which element you would like to emphasize/highlight. Ways to adapt a bookBrown Bear can be to highlight repetitive text, simplify text or use a carrier phrase (e.g., “I want the ______” or “She has the ______”) (Delsandro, 2013). For example, in the picture to the right, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle was adapted to highlight the repetitive concepts of color (adjective) + animal (noun).

The computer software, Boardmaker, was used to select pictures to represent each item. The pictures were then laminated, with Velcro placed both on the back of the pictures and then in the book. Depending on the child’s skill level and therapeutic goals, the pictures can be used in a variety of ways. When reading, the child needs to find the corresponding color and animal for each page. Or before reading, the child needs to separate the pictures into colors versus animals to target categories. Or the child needs to name each animal or color, using the pictures as reinforcement of the vocabulary…the options for activities are endless.

Ultimately, any child would benefit from and enjoy reading an adapted book. It makes reading more fun! However, there are some children who may benefit more than others. Adapted books would be a great therapeutic tool to use with children with limited receptive or expressive language who have goals to improve their vocabulary or sentence structure. Additionally, children who are working towards increasing their verbal output are ideal clients to use with adapted books, as these activities are supportive and predictable (Delsandro, 2013). Adaptive books are not just therapeutic tools, but could act as great carryover activities to the child’s home environment.

Click here for your   Articulation Checklist
Delsandro, Elizabeth. “Adapted Books.” [PowerPoint]. University of Iowa. Wendell Johnson Speech & Hearing Center, Iowa City, IA. The China Project 2013. Lecture.

10 expressive language activities

10 Activities to Develop Expressive Language

“I wish I could help my child talk more”. Well… You can! Expressive language can be elicited in a number of different ways. Most of the toys or activities you already have in your home can help your child begin to talk more and practice expressive language skills.

10 Expressive Language Activities:

  1. Books: Books are a great way to elicit expressive language in children. The important thing to remember10 Expressive Language Activities when reading books with your child is to ask OPEN ENDED questions. This takes some practice but the best way to help children talk more is to ask them a question where they generate their own answers. For example, “what is she doing?” “How is he feeling?” “What’s happening in this picture?”. These are open ended questions versus yes or no questions or questions with one word answers.
  2. Wordless books: Wordless books are great for younger children who are working on developing expressive language skills. With younger children, you can ask them direct questions like, “What is this?” or “What color is this?”. You can expand upon your child’s answers by saying things like, “You’re right; that’s a cat. He’s a black cat”. This will help model language and provide good input as well as working on output.
  3. Pretend play: Pretend play can target higher level expressive language skills. When pretending or building a scenario, your child is working on storytelling and sequencing activities. Always ask your child open ended questions when engaging in pretend play. This allows them to create the scenario and path as opposed to limiting their language with a single word answer. Some examples of questions are, “What should happen next?” or “Where should we go? Who should come with us?”.
  4. Cooking: Cooking is a great way to target expressive language through sequencing. Have your child narrate the steps of your recipe. This can be done by having her look over all the ingredients (either by reading words or by naming what she sees in front of her). Then, you can ask them to monitor and narrate what you have done, what you are doing, and what you still need to do.
  5. Playdough: Playdough can be used to build scenery, animals, food or any number of creations. Allow your child to express what she wants to create or what she wants you to build. Cookie cutters or other molds can help aid children if they are having trouble utilizing their imagination to build with playdough. This is a great opportunity to have your child request more or different playdough by using an, “I want….” Or an “I need…” phrase.
  6. Toy animals: Toy animals can be used similarly to pretend play. Again, be sure to ask open ended questions. This is also another opportunity to have your child utilize “I want…” or “I need…” phrases. Ask your child to narrate or express what the animals are/should be doing.
  7. Train sets/cars: Cars and trains can be used in a similar manner that toy animals would be used. Cars or trains sometimes come with tracks or ramps. If you don’t have ramps, you can improvise by using a table or another piece of furniture. You can utilize these tracks or ramps to have your child verbalize “go again” or “go up/down” or “ready…set…go”.
  8. Dress up: Dress up can be incorporated into pretend play or an entire activity in itself. You can have your child express what they want to wear or what they want you to wear. Ask them open ended or imaginative questions such as, “where should we go now that we’re all dressed up?” or “who are we?”.
  9. Play food: Your child can pretend they are cooking and/or serving you food. Have them ask you what you’d like to eat, or express to you what they are cooking, how they are cooking it, and who they are serving. You can also use a puppet with pretend food with the younger children. Have the children feed the puppet and tell it, “Eat banana” or “eat the apple puppet”. You can engage them by pretending to either enjoy or dislike the food in an exaggerated manner. Have them say whether they thought the puppet enjoyed the food or did not like it.
  10. Bubbles: Bubbles are a great tool to use with younger children. Blow bubbles and then pause. Ask your children to say, “More bubbles!” or “My turn.” if they are old enough to blow the bubbles themselves.

When targeting expressive language through activities or toys, always remember the following points:

  • Use open ended questions
  • Always have your child request an item before just handing it to them
  • Have your child request another turn
  • Have your child narrate what they are doing or what they want you to do

With these tips you can turn any toy or activity into an expressive language task!

Click here to read about milestones for expressive language development and red flags for an expressive language delay.



how to understand a speech language evaluation

Understanding a Speech Language Evaluation

Taking your child in for a speech-language evaluation and receiving the initial report can be a confusing and overwhelming process. As a parent or caregiver, you are entering a new health care field, which comes with new terminology and jargon. In order to best understand your child’s needs, it is helpful to have a good foundation of what speech-language pathology is. Here are eight terms that you will likely come across when reading your child’s report or when talking with your child’s speech-language pathologist. Reference this list to get the most out of the information that you are given from your speech-language pathologist.

8 Terms to Know to Understand a Speech Language Evaluation:

1. Language is the system that you use to communicate your thoughts and feelings. The use of language can happen through several differenthow to understand a speech language evaluation modalities, using your voice, writing, or gesturing. There are three main components of language: Receptive Language, Expressive Language, and Pragmatics.

2. Receptive Language refers to your ability to understand language. Activities where you use your receptive language are when you follow directions, listen to a story, or when categorizing/grouping items. Learn about receptive language delay here.

3. Expressive Language refers to your ability to use language through speaking or writing. Activities where you use your expressive language include when you tell a story, answer a question or describe an item. Learn about expressive language disorder here.

4. Pragmatics is the last component of language and includes the social rules of communicating or how language is used within certain situations. An example of a pragmatic language skill is your ability to greet an unfamiliar person and learn their name.

5. Speech can also be thought of as vocal communication. It is the ability of the human voice to create a variety of sounds to form the words and sentences that we use when communicating. Speech itself is only a series of sounds, it is the language system that it is used with that gives your speech meaning.

Click here to learn more about the difference between speech and language.

6. Standardized Tests are used during speech and language evaluations due to the standard procedures laid out for the administration and scoring of these tests. The standardization of these tests eliminate environmental and clinician factors that could influence a child’s performance.

After standardized testing is completed a child will receive various scores. Two important scores to pay attention to are: Standard Score and Percentile Ranking.

7. Standard Score is calculated by standardizing a child’s raw score based on indicated method for that test. When standardizing a raw score, the child’s gender and age are often taken into account. Once a score has been standardized it can be compared to the continuum of scores of the typical population.

8. Percentile Rank also compares a standard score to the typical population by identifying the percentage of people who received the same or lower score than your own. For example, receiving a percentile ranking of 50 indicated that 50% of people who also took the same standardized test received the same score or a score lower than your own score.

The results from standardized and informal testing will guide your child’s speech-language pathologist recommendations for services. If services are warranted, these test scores and observations are used to identify areas of need and the child’s therapeutic goals. Every 3 to 6 months, re-evaluations are completed to assess your child’s progress through therapy.