Speechie Definitions

What is up with all of this “speech” lingo?  Let me break it down for you…

AAC– Augmented and alternative communication.  This is a type of assistive technology that aids in communication.  It can be a broad spectrum of pictures, symbols, and icons that individuals can use to communicate.  Often, people think of AAC when students use “talkers” or an electronic device that gives a voice to buttons/icons for the student to communicate.  

American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA)– ASHA is a professional and credentialing association for audiologists and speech pathologists.  It provides clarification, resources, developmental norms, and research to use for both SLPs, AUDs and parents.

Articulation disorder– inability to produce individual speech sounds clearly.

Assessment– This word is synonymous with “evaluation.”  Assessment can be formal (standardized tests) or informal (screenings and/or informal probes) to gain insight on a student’s speech and language skills.  Assessment or an evaluation is often completed when a student first qualifies for services, or every 3 years for re-evaluation of an IEP.

Communication– This is a great deal more than just “speech.”  Communication refers to the exchange of thoughts, messages or information by speech, signals, writing, or behavior.  Communication can be verbal or nonverbal.

Congenital– Existing at or before birth.

Delay versus Deficit– A delay indicates that a child is developing speech and language skills in typical sequence, but just below expected norms according to chronological age or grade level.  A deficit indicates that a child is developing language in an abnormal sequence/way.  Students may “grow out” of a delay with short-term speech therapy, whereas a true deficit may require more intensive and explicit instruction to remediate.

FAPE– Free and Appropriate Public Education.  This is in accordance to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Act) and states that all students with disabilities are entitled to a free and public education.

Fluency– Another term for stuttering.

Executive Functioning– Executive functioning skills occur in the frontal lobe, which serves as the “CEO” of your brain.  Executive functioning skills are considered to be several mental skills that help the brain organize and act on information. These skills enable people to plan, organize, remember things, prioritize, pay attention and get started on tasks. They also help people use information and experiences from the past to solve current problems.

IEP (Individualized Education Plan)– a written plan for every student who has a documented disability requiring additional supports at school in order to be successful.  It is a plan that is created by a team, including parents, teachers, therapists, and other school service personnel.  An IEP is re-visited at least one time each year to look at progress and to create new goals.

Language– The use of voiced sounds, written symbols, gestures and signs in order to communicate.  Receptive language indicates a child’s ability to understand spoken language, where as expressive language indicates a child’s ability to express language to others.

LRE– Least restrictive environment.  This states that students with disabilities must be considered for as much exposure to typically developing students as possible.  There is a continuum of placements and programs for students with disabilities, and they should always be considered for the one that is the least restrictive.

Norms– Standardized and researched expectations provided according to grade level or chronological age in order to measure a student’s “typical” speech and language against.  For example, speech pathologists may use language or articulation “norms” to compare to students they assess in order to determine if skills are within a typical range, advanced or delayed.

Pathologist– One who engages in the scientific study of the nature of disease and its causes, processes, development and consequences.  I.E. Speech Pathologist

Phonology disorder– A disorder marked by a child’s inability to use speech sound patterns appropriately.  Patterns of errors are exhibited (reduplication, final consonant deletion, fronting, stopping, etc.) that are often demonstrated at an older chronological age than what is typically expected.  Phonology disorders are often more impactful on a child’s intelligibility than an articulation delay because more sound errors are typically involved.

Pragmatics– Another term for the social components of language, including but not limited to conversation, non-verbal language skills, problem solving, and social interaction skills.

RtI (Response to Intervention)– An intervention system that provides additional supports to students as needed within the academic setting.  Students do not need a formal diagnosis or IEP in order to receive RtI services.  These services are designed to be fluid and short-term.

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