Speech & language pathology promotes independence in use of language within daily life. This is achieved through receptive language, expressive language, and social pragmatic language.

“Speech & language pathology believes everyone deserves a voice; communication is the essence of human life.”

Speech-language pathologists work with children to improve:

  • Receptive language
  • Expressive language
  • Social pragmatic language

Receptive language is the ability to process and understand the information they are receiving from others. For example, following directions such as “pick up this toy and put in the blue basket.”

Expressive language is the ability to produce words and combine words into phrases and sentences to communicate wants, needs, and other information. For example, a child who wants to play go from saying “play” to “I want to play, please.”

Social pragmatic language is the way in which we communicate with others. For example, utilizing appropriate non-verbal cues (facial expressions, eye contact) and body language, turn taking, and engaging in conversation.

Additionally, Speech-Language Pathologists may use Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices:

  • Unaided forms require children to use their bodies to communicate such as use sign language, gestures, and facial expressions.
  • Aided forms of AAC require a child to use equipment and devices to communicate. This could include a pen and paper, pictures (PECS), or a device such as an iPad.

Children and adolescents see speech-language pathologists for a variety of reasons, including difficulty with:

  • Articulating certain sounds/phonological errors
  • Producing fluent speech (avoids stuttering)
  • Using words, phrases, and sentences to communicate at an age appropriate level
  • Understanding information such as directions or questions
  • Organizing information and regulating behavior
  • Carrying on conversations with others

For infants, toddlers, and children, interventions are focused on:

  • Recognizing and producing basic sounds (mother or caregivers voice)
  • Communicating basic needs such as wanting food, sleep, or bathroom
  • Responding to basic requests such as his/her name
  • Using communication to get and keep attention
  • Communicating stories that stay on topic
  • Engaging in play and turn taking

For older children and teens, interventions are focused on:

  • Understanding the use of language (following directions, answering questions)
  • Communicating ideas, feelings, wants, and needs
  • Communicating with peers (social groups)
  • Problem solving and critical thinking
  • Perspective taking and understanding use of non-verbal communication
  • Engaging in reciprocal conversations