Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) often use the terms speech and language hand in hand, but they actually have very different meanings! Speech and language disorders both refer to problems with communication, but the underlying reason for the problem could be very different. Sometimes it can be hard to know which area your child is struggling with. These easy tips will help you understand the difference between a speech or language disorder.
Speech refers to the sounds we produce to form words. A child with a speech disorder may:
-substitute one sound for another
-delete sounds in words
-produce sounds incorrectly
-be hard to understand
Language refers to the meaning of words and the way we use words. A child with a language disorder may:
-struggle following directions
-have difficulty understanding the meaning of words
-have difficulty expressing their wants, needs, or thoughts easily
-may not reach specific language milestones
at the same rate as other children
Speech and language disorders can occur independently or they may occur simultaneously. Understanding why your child is having a hard time communicating can help your SLP better prepare in the assessment and treatment of your child.