Speech is the act of coordinating the different muscles around the mouth to enunciate, articulate and to produce meaningful sounds. As children grow, they follow certain general milestones for speech development. When a child reaches these milestones slower than expected he/she might be diagnosed as having a Speech Delay. In other words, a Speech Delay is when a child follows the milestones for speech development in a sequential manner, but at a slower delayed pace than is typical.
A Speech Disorder/Speech Sound Disorder is diagnosed when a child's speech consists of unusual error patterns in sound production. Children generally make common errors in their speech as they grow. However, some error patterns are considered atypical, and are red flags for a Speech Disorder.
Language refers to the use of words and phrases to form coherent sentences, as well as the ability to understand various words, phrases and sentences. This would include the knowledge of various sentence structures, grammatical rules, language concepts (e.g. concepts of time, space etc.) and vocabulary, just to name a few. As children grow, they follow certain general milestones for language development (e.g. having a 50 word vocabulary by 18-23 months). When a child reaches these milestones slower than expected he/she might be diagnosed as having a Language Delay.
A Language Disorder is a broad term that can encompass many different issues, but is generally diagnosed when a child is not developing language in an expected manner/pattern. A child with a Language Disorder might have specific issues with certain aspects of language, which then presents as an overall difficulty in processing linguistic information.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Children with ASD will often have struggles with communication. Depending on the age of the child, these struggles can range from having delayed/disordered development of language and speech, to having social communication difficulties. Some children with ASD who are non-verbal will also benefit from speech therapy to help explore alternative modes of communication, or to help with eliciting speech.
Social Skills Training
This is an area of work that Speech Therapists do that might come as a surprise for some people. Many of you might not know this, but the ability to socialise and to behave in a socially acceptable manner is a skill that children learn and hone as they grow as well. This is not the same as being shy. For example, the simple act of being able to play with another child already requires several social skills: being able to take turns appropriately, being able to share/compromise, responding in an appropriate manner etc. When we look at more nuanced interactions such as that of older children or teenagers, even better mastery of social skills are then needed for them to excel socially.
The development of Social Skills and the grasping of social norms/rules are things that come naturally for most people - but not quite so instinctively for many others. For children with ASD in particular, Social Skills are an area where much support is needed.
Home therapy can be a good option for children who feel safer and more secure in a more familiar environment. Our speech therapist will travel to your home to provide the speech therapy services your child requires.