Here at Speech & Language Link our focus is on communication and so it’s especially important that we communicate effectively with our users. We are mindful that sometimes speech and language therapists can be guilty of using technical terms or terms that may not hold the same meaning for our colleagues in education.

Over the next few issues, it is our intention to put together a glossary which will appear on our information page/blog and to define a few terms in detail in each issue of The Link magazine. Let’s start with some of the broad terms that are used regularly in relation to children with SLCN.

Receptive Language

This is the term speech and language therapists use to describe the language that someone understands. It is the skill that Language Link focuses on and refers not only to the understanding of vocabulary but also the understanding of grammar and the way that language works in different contexts. In the process of language development understanding proceeds spoken language, in other words a child is able to understand more language than they are able to use. The terms receptive language, comprehension or understanding may be used interchangeably. Throughout the Language Link packages we use the term understanding.

It is very hard to identify that a child is having difficulty understanding language as it is not an observable skill. Language Link is designed to identify children with difficulty understanding language and will highlight the areas of language where a child needs support.

Spoken Language

This describes the language that someone is able to use. It is important to distinguish between spoken language and speech. The term spoken language encompasses a variety of skills only one of which is speech.

It describes vocabulary and the grammar used to combine and structure the words into meaningful communication. The term expressive language is often used by speech therapists to describe language output. A difficulty with spoken language may manifest itself as difficulty learning or remembering vocabulary or difficulty using grammar to sequence thoughts and ideas coherently.

The terms expressive language and spoken language can be used interchangeably.

Throughout the Speech Link Multimedia Ltd packages we use the term spoken language.

It is usually easier to identify that a child has a spoken language difficulty because what the child says may be difficult for the listener to follow or understand.

Speech: Speech is the physical process of forming and combining speech sounds into recognisable strings of language. It is one medium that we can use to embody the language that we want to communicate. We can also use the written medium or the medium of non-verbal gestures or signs. If a child has a speech problem it will be obvious to the listener.

It is easy to identify that there is a problem but it can be more tricky to work out exactly where the problem lies. Speech Link is designed to identify the sounds that a child is having problems with.

Find out more

Speech Link: Assessment and intervention package for spoken language

Language Link: Assessment and intervention package for receptive language

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