SPEECH AND LANGUAGE SKILLS
A Speech and Language Therapist has specialized knowledge of the skills necessary for successful communication, as well as how children acquire them. A speech therapist may work on one or more of the following skills when treating children with speech and language disorders:
1) Speech production skills
This refers to the speech sounds that we use to make words. Speech sounds are acquired gradually throughout childhood. Difficulty producing speech sounds accurately may sometimes result in unintelligible speech which can cause feelings of frustration both for the child and those interacting with them.
2) Language skills
This refers to the words and sentences that we understand and use. When we speak, we combine speech sounds to make words, and words to make sentences. We learn how to group sentences in a logical way to convey an endless range of messages. Most children learn how to do this just by listening to those around them. Some children however, need help learning the rules necessary to understand and use language effectively.
3) Pragmatic skills
These are the skills that allow us to use language correctly in different contexts. The language we use to talk to a friend is different from the language we use to talk to a teacher. Similarly, we use different writing styles when we are writing an email to a family member or completing a creative writing assignment in class. Eye contact, taking turns, asking appropriate questions, and introducing a topic, are some more examples of pragmatic skills necessary for successful conversation. Children who need help learning these rules may struggle with daily social interaction.
4) Abstract verbal thinking skills
This refers to the way we use language to think about and understand abstract concepts such as solving problems, predicting outcomes and making inferences. These skills allow us to use language for learning. They are a key factor to academic success. Children with language difficulties frequently struggle to acquire these skills.
5) Auditory processing skills
This refers to the way our brain processes a spoken message. We need to attend to the message, filter out unnecessary background noise, discriminate between similar sounding words, remember the message and finally, interpret it. Difficulty with one or more of these skills will prevent effective processing of the message that was heard.
6) Word retrieval skills
This is the ability to effectively retrieve words in real time, as we need to use them. When this skill is impaired, another word may be retrieved in place of the target word, or we may hesitate in an effort to try and remember the word we want to use.
7) Phonological awareness skills
This is the ability to analyze words into their component sounds and to put them back together again. These skills are prerequisites to successful reading and writing.
If you think your child or student presents with a difficulty in one or more of these areas, please call or email me for an initial consultation at no charge.
Teachers and parents of children with a suspected speech or language delay may contact me, Judith Turiel, for an initial consultation at no charge. Call me at: .
+44 20 3372 4436
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