What is the difference in speech and language?

Children develop skills in the area of speech and language over time, but although these two areas of development are related, they are not the same thing. Speech is defined as how a child says sounds and words such as how words are pronounced. Children with speech difficulties may make sound substitutions (e.g., saying “tat” for “cat”, “thing” for “sing”), have unclear speech or slurred speech, have a hoarse voice, or may have disfluent speech full of sound and/or word repetitions, pauses, or prolongations. Speech difficulties could be caused by a structural or functional deficit in the oral motor mechanism (e.g., such as having a cleft palate or oral motor weakness), developmental delay, nerve damage, or genetic factors just toname a few.Language, on the other hand, is defined as how a child forms words together to understand others, to share ideas and to get what they want. Language encompasses both understanding as well as expression of various language concepts including: vocabulary, sentence structure, word endings (e.g., -ing, -s, -ed), pragmatics (i.e., the social aspect or “use” of language), and phonology (i.e., the sound systems in language). Children with language difficulties may have difficulty understanding or processing what is said, expressing themselves with age-appropriate vocabulary, word structure, or sentence structure, reading orcomprehending written passages, or interacting with others in a socially appropriate and effective manner. Language difficulties could be caused by a developmental delay, learning difficulties, genetic factors or processing difficulties just to name a few.Children who have speech difficulties do not necessarily have difficulties in language, just as children with language delays do not necessarily have speech delays. However, it is possiblethat a child may have a combination of both speech and language delays. If you have questions regarding your child’s speech or language development, it is important to get your child formally assessed by a speech-language pathologist in order to determine if there is a delay, and if so the degree and type of delay your child may have. Knowing more about your child’s delay can be helpful in treating the delay and helping your child communicate more clearly and effectively.
Sources: https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/ Bowen, C. (2011).
Children’s speech sound disorders. Retrieved from http://www.speech-language-therapy.com/ on [October 28, 2020]

Want to know how a Speech Therapist can Help?

Schedule your infant, child, and teen for an evaluation today and see how a therapist can help your family.
Call (828) 398 0043 or click on the schedule button.

Post navigation