Speech Glossary

Articulation: The way speech sounds are produced. Children who misarticulate sounds usually have difficulties saying sounds such as “s”, “l”, “g”, “k’ correctly in words. Articulation problems can be caused by poor listening ability, developmental delay, dental problems, or poor control of the lips and tongue.

Attention: The ability to focus on things that you see or hear.

Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Individuals diagnosed with ADHD tend to be easily distracted, do not seem to think before doing something, and are almost constantly active.

Audiological Test: A test for how well you can hear.

Auditory Memory: The ability to remember things you have heard, both short-term and long-term.

Auditory Processing: How our brains work to understand and remember information that we hear: paying attention to a sound presence of background noise, auditory memory, auditory discrimination between different sounds, sequencing the order of what we hear, forming a concept or image or idea.

Autism or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): This is the developmental disability that hinders a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships. People with Autism or ASD may have severe communication and behavior problems. Autistic individuals are characterized by impairment in communication skills and repetitive stereotyped behavior.

Cognitive Ability: Generally used as an umbrella term to include the overall mental ability for different thinking processes that the brain is capable of.

Consonant: Any letter of the alphabet other than the vowels A, E, I, O, or U.

Consonant Blend: 2 or more constants that appear together in a word but keep their individual sounds e.g. the “bl” in “black”. In general, Constant blends are more difficult to articulate and children may leave out one of the sounds. For example, children may leave out the “s” sound when they say “school”.

Developmental Disability: A slowdown in learning and thinking abilities that affect a child’s physical or mental progress in  learning new skills or other forms of development.

Discrimination: The ability to tell the difference between sounds or visual symbols.

Dyslexia: A specific difficulty in understand visual symbols for reading. It is different from other factors that may contribute to reading difficulties such as attention deficit disorder, and/or speech and language difficulties.

Expressive Language: The ability to express ideas in communication either verbally through speech, through writing, or through other means such as sign language or using assistive communication devices.

Generalize: To learn one skills and be able to apply it to various different situations.

Hearing Disability: Hearing impairment due to problems with the ear, the nerves, or the brain, which affect how sound is processed.

Impulsivity: Reacting without thinking, and not being able to adjust behavior from past experiences or lessons, IF this is persistent, it might be due to conditions such as ADHD (Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder).

Language: The understanding and usage of symbols with the correct rules in order to communicate. When symbols used are written alphabets and words, we are using written language, as in writing or reading. When symbols used are the speech sounds for a particular language such as English, we are using verbal language for speaking and listening. The rules for the use of the symbols or words in a language form the grammar.

Language Processing: Receiving and understanding verbal symbols in reading or listening.

Lisp: A form of speech difficulty where the person has difficulty in pronouncing ‘s’ and ‘z’ sounds, which may sound like ‘th’ to a listener. A certified Speech Therapist / Pathologist can help an individual to correct a Lisp through speech therapy.

Phonics: A method of teaching beginners to read by recognizing the sounds of different letters or groups of letters i.e. learning to read partsof words, rather than memorizing sounds of entire words visually by sight.

Pragmatics: The social aspect of language for certain functions such as making requests or indicating refusal. Good understanding and use of pragmatics are essential for good social skills.

Receptive Language: The ability to receive ideas in communication and understand what somone means wither verbally through speech, through writing, or through other means such as sign language. Braille, or using assistive communication devices.

Rhyme: Words with the same vowels and sound similar at the end e.g. “wild” and “child”. They may not be spelt with the same letters e.g. ‘bee’ and ‘sea’.

Sequencing: Remembering the order of sounds, words, or events. Some examples of sequencing problems are: seeing ’13’ nut writing ’31’, mixing up letters when spelling words, not being able to answer questions about simple series e.g. “What day comes before Thursday?”, or not being able to do something step by step in the right order e.g. applying glue behind a picture, turning over the picture and then pasting it onto paper.

Speech Delay: refers to a delay in the use of body mechanism to produce sound. There are three broad causes of speech delay: problems with the input of speech (difficulty in hearing), problems with processing speech (difficulty in working with what is heard) and problems with the output of speech (difficulty due to physiological constraints).

Stuttering: Speech that is choppy due to hesitation , repeated sounds, or unnecessary blocks when speaking.

Vocal Disorder: Problems in voice production: poor quality (hoarse or nasal), pitch (too high or low pitched), or intensity (loudness).

Vowel: The letters A, E, I, O, and U.