speech / language / communication


Speech refers to the way we physically produce a message, including:
  • Articulation - the way specific speech sounds are produced
  • Phonology - the patterns and organization of speech sounds in a language
  • Fluency - the rhythm of the message
  • Voice - the pitch, volume, and quality of a message


Language refers to the socially shared rules we follow when we communicate, including:

Expressive Language - how we express our thoughts and feelings
  • Learning and using vocabulary
  • Learning and using grammatical structures
  • Learning the social rules of communication
  • Learning how to ask questions
Receptive Language - how we understand the messages of others
  • Understanding specific words, phrases, and sentences
  • Understanding concepts (e.g., prepositions, sizes, colors)
  • Following single and multiple step directions
  • Understanding questions


Communication refers to using language to communicate with others, including:

  • Conversational turn taking
  • Asking and Answering Questions
  • Commenting
  • Using and understanding facial expressions
  • Using and understanding gestures
  • Using and understanding humor
  • Using and understanding sarcasm
  • Using and understanding figurative language

when to be concerned

Consider having your child's speech and language evaluated if:

  • Your child's pediatrician recommends an evaluation
  • Your child is not meeting developmental milestones
  • Your child loses ANY developmental skills at ANY age.
  • Look for Signs of a Speech and Language Disorder

what you can do to help

  • Talk. Talk. Talk.  Talk to your children all of the time.  Talk about what you are doing.  Talk about what they are doing.  Talk about what you see.  Talk about what you hear.  
  • Read to your children daily.
  • Respond to your children when they communicate with you.
  • Limit screen time (TV, iPad, phones).  Face-to-face communication is important for development.
  • Say words correctly when you talk - avoid baby talk.
  • Don't always correct your child's speech.  Make sure they feel that their intent and message is the most important part of communication.
  • Don't interrupt your child.  Give your child time to talk.
  • See a speech language pathologist if you are concerned.