14 of the Most Common Speech and Language Lingo Explained for You

Has your child recently begun receiving speech therapy?  There are a lot of terms that may be thrown at you that can be confusing.  The terms that speech therapists sometimes use aren’t always the most easy to understand.  I will breakdown some of the most common speech and language lingo to make the therapy process more understandable.

Speech and Lanuage Lingo

Receptive Language- The language in which your child understands.  Some skills that fall in this category include; following directions, identifying vocabulary, understanding how to answer questions, and understanding how objects are related.

Expressive Language- This is the language your child produces.  Some skills that fall in this area include; labeling objects, requesting for wants/needs, describing how objects are related, and using pronouns,

Pragmatic Language- Your child’s social language skills.  This can include, establishing eye contact when requesting, turn-taking, appropriately greeting others (hi and bye), and maintaining a conversation.

Individual Sessions-Your child will be receiving therapy alone with just the therapist.

Group sessions-This type of session is common in a school. Find out from the therapist how many students will be in the group.  Each state has specific rules about how many students can be seen in a group.  In my state of NJ, a small group can have up to 3 students and a large group can have up to 5 students.

Pull-out sessions- This term is also used in a school setting. This type of session is when your child is pulled out of his/her classroom and brought to the therapy room for services.

Push-in sessions- This refers to when the therapist services your child in the classroom. The therapist may help your child interact with other students in the classroom or help them participate in the classroom activity.

Echolalic speech-This is when a child repeats words or phrases they hear. For example, if you ask your child if they want milk, they may reply “want milk?”.  This type of speech is common for child on the autism spectrum.

Scripting- This is when a child repeats phrases or whole paragraphs of information heard previously (usually from a TV show).  This type of speech is also common for a child on the autism spectrum.

MLU- This stands for mean length of utterance or the amount of word your child uses in his/her phrases.  A therapist may have a goal for your child to increase MLU to 2-4 words.

Articulation-This refers to how your child says specific sounds.  Your child may have difficulty with the “L” sound and receive speech therapy services to increase their articulation skills.

Phonological process- If your child says a group of sounds incorrectly this difficulty is referred to as a phonological process.  For an example, there is a phonological process calling “fronting”.  This is when your child produces sounds that should be made in the back of the mouth (“k” and “g” sounds) in the front of their mouth (“k” will sound like a “t”, and “g” will sound like a “d”).  There are many different phonological disorders.

Apraxia of speech- A motor speech disorder where the child has difficulty implementing the motor movements of speech. A child with apraxia presents with very poor intelligibility, difficulty with vowel sounds, difficulty producing multi-syllabic words, and may also show signs of groping (moving mouth and articulators around without sound).

Fluency- This is a term related to stuttering. When a child frequently repeats parts of words, syllables, whole parts, or phrases, they may present with a fluency disorder.  Some fluency difficulties are developmental and others are not.  To read more about this please click here.

Are there any other speech and language terms you don’t understand?  Please let me know!



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