Speech & Language Pathologists (SLPs) work with children and adults who have difficulty with communication. Speech refers to the way that a child verbally communicates and includes 3 areas: Articulation, Voice, and Fluency.
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Articulation refers to how speech sounds are made. A child with an articulation disorder could have difficulty with producing one particular sound (for example he or she might say “wed” for “red”) or may have several sounds in error. Children with multiple sound errors tend to be more difficult to understand.
Voice refers to the way sounds are produced using the vocal cords. Children with voice disorders could sound very “raspy” or “harsh” or they may have difficulty with using an appropriate speaking volume.
Fluency refers to the forward flowing movement of speech. Children with fluency disorders or “stutters” might repeat whole words (i.e. “I I I want to go outside.”) or just a part of the word (i.e. “M m m m my name is Tim.”) or may have difficulty starting speech and may hesitate or use “filler” words (such as “Ummm,” or “well”) to get started.
Language is a shared communication system and refers to both receptive language (how we are able to understand a message) and expressive language (how we are able to communicate a message to others). Children with language disorders can show a variety of symptoms from mild to severe that could include difficulty with: listening and following directions, using age-appropriate vocabulary, communicating socially with peers and adults, eye contact and other nonverbal communication, and following the rules that tell how to put words together to make sentence grammar.