Joanne Ransom, Joanne Taylor, SLP, The Speech Wave, Lennox Head NSW 2478, 0419 258 296, Ballina, Byron Bay, Tintenbar, Goonellabah, Alstonville, Lismore, Northern Rivers, Private Speech Therapy, speech problems, voice problems.

The Speech Wave 

   Speech & Language Pathology Private Practice






Acute - Sudden, short duration

Acquired - Happened after development (e.g. an acquired hearing loss).

Age appropriate The level of skill that is expected given a child’s age

Anomia - Naming / labelling difficulties

Aphasia / Dysphasia - Loss of language skills / partial loss of language skills, acquired language difficulties

Articulation / pronunciationThe producing of sounds accurately using the speech muscles, tongue and teeth to make words and sentences that can be clearly understood

AttributesThe defining features of objects or actions

Auditory closureThe brain’s ability to fill in missing sound information, eg sounds missing from words (i__ cream = ice-cream), or words from sentences (“I wear a ____ to keep warm” = I wear a jumper to keep warm)

Auditory discriminationThe ability to hear the difference between sounds (eg hearing that f and th sound different)

Auditory processingThe ability to hear and process sounds

BabblingThe verbal sounds made by infants and young children that are often the precursor to speech

Baby talk / Motherese / Child-directed speechThe simple communication of an adult to a young child using exaggerated intonation and stress, eg “He’s a big dog!”

Bilingual The ability to speak and understand more than one language (eg English and Cantonese)

BlendingBeing able to join up sounds to make words

Chronic - Ongoing

Cervical auscultation - A tool (way of) assessing a swallow using a stethoscope on the throat area.

CognitionThinking skills or the functions of the mind controlled by the brain, eg memory, attention, concentration

CommunicationA message that exchanges ideas or information

Communicative temptationsStrategies and strong motivators that make someone want to communicate

ConjunctionJoining words eg and, but, because, so

ConsonantA letter of the alphabet or a sound that is not a vowel, where the airflow is impeded at some point

Contingent response A response that is appropriate to what has been said

DecodingThe ability to read written words by converting letters into sounds and joining them together to make words and sentences.

DeficitAn shortage in the development or learning of a skill, eg a working memory deficit

Developmental - Part of natural development

Dysgraphia - Loss of writing skills, acquired writing difficulties.

Dyslexia - Reading difficulties (developmental or acquired)

Dysphagia - Swallowing difficulties

Dysphonia - Loss of voice / Voice difficulties.

EcholaliaParroting or imitating speech or sounds that have been heard including words, phrases or sentences

Executive Function Processes of the frontal lobe of the brain such as focussing attention, shifting focus, working memory, sequencing, controlled emotional response and multitasking

Expressive languageUsing words and sentences to convey a message

Figurative language / non-literal languageExpressions that are not intended to be understood literally, eg “My father hit the roof”

Final consonant deletionSaying words without the last sound

GrammarThe rules governing the formation of words and how words relate to each other in sentences

InferencingBeing able to logically determine how or why something occurs

Information processingA way of describing how the brain deals with information that it receives from different sources

Intelligibility - Clarity of speech / How easily your speech is understood by others.

IntonationThe tune and tone in our voice when we speak, such as the rise and fall in pitch and word stress.

JargonSpeech sounds or words that are unintelligible or nonsense words, but produced with adult-like speech patterns

Labelling / Naming Interchangeable terms for know the specific words attached to items or action

Language A whole system used for communicating, which usually includes speech but also includes all the other aspects of communication such as non-verbal language, comprehension, pragmatics and a grammatical system

Larynx The structure in the body that lies above the windpipe and contains the vocal folds/ vocal cords and helps produces voice

LexiconA person’s internal dictionary that stores words and their meanings in the brain

Linguistic conceptsUnderstanding word concepts used in speech, such as words for location, time, quantity or size

Listener orientation / listener awareness Understanding how much a listener knows or doesn’t know already, and giving the appropriate information to account for this.

MetalinguisticsThe ability to think about words and sounds, which includes phonological awareness, semantic awareness, syntactic awareness, word awareness ad understanding non-literal language.

MLU Mean Length of Utterance, an average measure of how many words or parts of words are used in each sentence.

MorphologyThe parts of words that provide the grammatical component (eg word endings such as –s for plurals).

NarrativeStory-telling which can include recounting personal events or experiences.

Nasendoscope - A way of viewing inside the nasal and oral cavity and larynx using a camera on a wire through the nose. 

Non-verbal communicationThe use of anything other than words to communicate, such as sign language (Makaton, Auslan), picture communication exchange, pictures, tone of voice, facial expression and body language.

Non-wordsCombinations of letters and sounds that look like words but are not real words .

Oral dyspraxia - Sequencing difficulties of the mouth, tongue or soft palate.

Oral NarrativeThe ability to tell a logical sequence of ideas in sentences that convey a story to the listener.

Oral retell / recountThe ability to tell something that has happened to oneself in logical sequence of sentences.

Oro-motor - Involving movement of the mouth, tongue lips, soft palate and pharynx.

PEG (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy) - A way of getting nutrition directly into the stomach from a bag via a tube. 

PharynxA cavity in the body extending from the nasal cavity to the larynx.

PhonationThe sound produced from the vibration of the vocal cords (ie voice).

PhonemeA target speech sound. A speech sound can be identified as either initial phoneme (first sound), final phoneme (last sound) or medial (middle sound).

Phoneme deletion or sound deletion The ability to say a word whilst leaving out a particular sound, eg “Say truck without the ‘t’ (= ruck).

Phonological awareness Understanding about speech sounds and hearing the difference between speech sounds.

Phonology - Speech sounds, sound sequences and patterns.

PredictingThe ability to explain what might happen logically or sequentially in a given situation.

Pre-literacyThe skills needed before reading will be successful, including phonological awareness (awareness of sounds).

PragmaticsImportant features of communication that we use in addition to the actual words we speak, including body language, facial expression, tone of voice, volume, intonation , eye contact and other social uses of language.

ProsodySimilar to intonation, which is the tune in our voice when we speak, and also includes the stress, rhythm, volume and rate of speech.

Rapid Automatic Naming (RAN)A task requiring the naming of as many items in a category as possible.

Receptive language / comprehensionUnderstanding or comprehension of language use and meaning.

Reading comprehensionUnderstanding what is read.

ReinforcementPositive or negative response to a behaviour that encourages or discourages the recurrence of the behaviour.

Referencing Clearly identifying who or what is being talked about.

Resonance The enlarging or prolonging of sound produced by vibration, such as enhancing the volume and tone of voice using the cavities of the mouth, nose and sinuses.

Respiration Breathing.

Segmenting / segmentation/ phoneme segmentationThe ability to hear and isolate all the sounds in a word.

Self-monitoringThe ability to be aware of and make appropriate adjustments to one’s behaviour or actions, including communication, eg volume in conversation, correcting pronunciation.

Semantics - Meaning

Semantic organisation / Semantic categories / CategorisationThe ability to organise words into groups that belong together or are related in some way.

Sensory perceptionThe ability to feel or register sensory information (ie feedback from the senses), eg feeling that the chin is wet from dribbling, or where to place the tongue when producing sounds, or an awareness of speech volume.

Sequencing The ability to put things in a correct, logical order, and can be words, pictures, ideas, concepts or stories.

Social Skills A group of skills necessary to interact successfully with others in different situations using acceptable social behaviours, eg conversation skills and problem solving.

Sound inventory A list of speech sounds that can be accurately produced.

Spatial relationships Words that describe how things are related in space, eg next to, under, left or right.

Speech Pathology/Speech TherapyInterchangeable terms relating to the work of Speech Pathologists who work with communication difficulties of speech, language, reading, writing, voice and swallowing.

SpoonerismsA sound manipulation task where the first sounds of two words are swapped, eg sun and rake become run and sake.

Syllable reductionReducing multi-syllabic words to a simpler form (eg saying elephant as “ephant”.

Syllable segmentation / syllable detectionThe ability to hear and identify individual syllables in a word.

Syntax The rules governing word structure and the relationships between words.

TangentialWhen communication deviates from an established topic.

Temporal relationships Words that describe how things are related in time, eg before or after.

Verbal dyspraxia - Speech sound sequencing difficulties

Verbal problem solvingUsing language to identify, explain or provide a solution to a problem.

VideofluoroscopyA moving X-ray that is videotaped to observe the swallowing process. Involves swallowing barium.

Visual memoryThe ability to remember visual images, such as pictures or words.

VocabularyKnowledge of words.

Voiced and voiceless soundsConsonants that are produced with or without vibration of the vocal cords. Voiced sounds are produced with vibration of the vocal cords (eg b, v, z, g, d, j), whereas voiceless sounds are produced with breath alone that is shaped by the mouth (eg p, f, sh, s, k, t, ch).

VowelA letter of the alphabet or a sound that is not a consonant, where the airflow is not impeded at any point.

Word associationUnderstanding the relationship between words and the ability to think of words that are related to one another.

Word retrieval The ability to find a word stored in the brain and use it.

Working memoryThe ability to hold information in the brain until it is recalled and used if necessary.

Child Communication Development

At 12 months;

•                Says “mama” and “dada”

•                Engages in repetitive babbling

•                Can follow a simple command without a gesture

•                Understands “No”

•                Imitates and initiates gesture games

•                Looks to the source of sounds heard around them

At 18 months;

•                Says some single words (at least 6 single words)

•                Uses “mama” and “dada” to label the right parent

•                Are pointing to objects they want

•                Are beginning to recognize some body parts

At 2 years;

•                Can use words to tell you what they want

•                Can say 50 or more different single words

•                Are beginning to put two words together e.g. “Mummy drink”, “shoes on”, “more ball”

•                Can follow two-step directions without gestures

At 3 years;

•                Can be understood by unfamiliar people most of the time

•                Are beginning to use simple pronouns e.g. “me”, “you”

•                Can put 2-3 sentences together to have a conversation

•                Can understand and use location words e.g. “in”, “on”, “under”

•                Can identify and label objects and their uses e.g. “Show me the….”, “Which one is for cutting?”, “What is this called?”, “What is this for?”


Who would need to see a speech pathologist?

Assessment and therapy services are recommended for children who:

•                Are late talkers – 2 year olds should have a minimum of 50 words.

•                Are hard to understand – 3 year olds’ speech should be understood by most people 75% of the time.  All 4 year olds should use clear speech.

•                Are unable to follow directions – 3 year olds should be able to follow directions with two parts (e.g. Get your book and put it on the table) that are not part of the normal routine.

•                Are unable to answer “wh” questions – preschoolers should be answering who, what, where, when and why questions during conversation.

•                Are struggling to explain or retell a story or talk about how they spent their day – 4 year olds can talk about a story or explain an event at preschool.

•                Have limited vocabulary and concept development – preschool children can talk about opposites, and a variety of concepts e.g. colours, size (long/short, big/small), location (next to, behind), quantity (more/less).

•                Have a hearing difficulty.

•                Have a diagnosis that impact on their communication skills e.g. Autism Spectrum Disorder, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Global Developmental Delay.

School aged children who may need assessment could have difficulties with:

•                Rhyming, counting syllables and other pre literacy skills such as identifying letters and sounds.

•                Learning to read and spell – sounding out words or understanding what they read.

•                Understanding teachers instructions.

•                Retelling stories.

Children with a history of speech and language delays prior to school may have difficulties with literacy.  A family history of learning difficulties is also considered a risk factor for language learning difficulties.

Assessment and therapy services are recommended for adults who:

  • Have developed difficulties in the areas of speech, language, communication, voice, fluency (stuttering), or swallowing. These can be areas of need following or due to :- an illness or injury that affects the brain, nerves or motor skills; a traumatic brain injury or stroke; hearing loss;  functional misuse (e.g. voice) or chronic/ongoing developmental difficulties (fluency difficulties; social communication skills).



Please see below for useful links to speech and language resources for school aged children.

•                Phonological awareness and oral language resources & information:

•                Phonological Awareness for Literacy Program:

•                Early Literacy Fundamentals:

•                Oral Langauge & Story Book Programs:

•                Developmental Milestone Factsheets:

•                Story Telling & Story Writing:

•                Extra Language Resources:

•                SuperDuper products and games:

•                Handy Handouts - free on-line newsletters for teachers and parents:

•                Teaching Resources for Literacy Development:

•                Earobics:;jsessionid=78A99131925425AA81702400E699E92B

•                Cued Articulation:

•                Comprehension Cards:

•                Fast ForWord:







Joanne Ransom, Joanne Taylor, SLP, The Speech Wave, Lennox Head NSW 2478, 0419 258 296, speech and language pathology, speech difficulties, language difficulties, communication difficulties, swallowing difficulties, stammering, stuttering, voice difficulties, speech assessment, speech therapy, language assessment, language therapy, early intervention, Ballina, Byron Bay, Tintenbar, Goonellabah, Alstonville, Lismore, Northern Rivers, Private Speech Therapy, speech problems, voice problems.