What is speech and language therapy?

  • Speech-language therapy is the treatment for most children with speech and/or language disorders. A speech disorder refers to a problem with the actual production of sounds, whereas a language disorder refers to a difficulty understanding or putting words together to communicate ideas.


    Some helpful definitions:
    Communication
    is the exchange of information, the sending and receiving of messages. It is a two-way interaction and requires participation of a sender and a receiver. A message is encoded, transmitted and decoded. Communication breakdowns can occur if either party has difficulty performing their role. If the sender does not speak clearly or intelligibly, his/her message may not be received. If the sender does not use language appropriately, in a meaningful way, the message may not be received. If the receiver has a hearing impairment, an oral/spoken message may not be received. If the receiver has difficulty understanding language, they may not be able to decode the message.

    Language is a shared code or system that represents concepts and ideas through the use of arbitrary symbols. It is rule-governed and shared by a given community. Typically, we use oral and written language to communicate. Other types of language include sign language, Blissymbol communication and pic-syms.

    Speech is a motor act. It is the production of sounds in meaningful combinations by the lips, tongue, teeth, palate, vocal cords, and lungs for communication.