Understanding the distinction between speech and language is essential for parents navigating their child's communication development. At Speech Sisters, we receive common questions from concerned parents who are unsure of the differences between these two aspects of child development. In this blog post we will shed light on speech (articulation) and language, and guide you towards effective solutions. Let's dive in!
Question 1: What is the difference between speech and language?
Speech refers to the motor aspect of communication, focusing on the production, pronunciation, and articulation of sounds. On the other hand, language involves both the receptive aspect (understanding) and expressive aspect (verbal/nonverbal communication) of sharing thoughts, ideas, and feelings.
Question 2: How can I determine if my child is struggling with speech?
If your child is speaking in complete sentences, but their words are difficult to understand, it could indicate challenges with speech. Do you find yourself in a situation similar to "Charlie is 3 and speaks in complete sentences, but we can't understand a word he says?" If yes, your child's speech articulation might need some attention.
Question 3: What signs indicate language difficulties in my child?
Language difficulties often manifest in various ways. For instance, if your child is struggling to follow basic directions, has a limited vocabulary, or encounters difficulties sharing their thoughts, you might want to focus on nurturing their language skills. An example could be "Sadie is 2 years old and does not follow basic directions and only has 10 words."
Question 4: What is articulation?
Articulation is a crucial aspect of speech, focusing on the physical production and clarity of speech sounds. It involves the precise movements and coordination of the articulatory muscles in the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat to create specific speech sounds and form words, phrases, sentences, and conversations. Proper articulation allows us to produce sounds accurately, making our speech clear and understandable to others. When a child has challenges with articulation, they may struggle to pronounce certain sounds, substitute one sound for another, omit sounds, or distort them. For example, a child might say "wabbit" instead of "rabbit" or struggle to produce the "th" sound.
Question 5: If I don't address articulation at a young age, will my child grow out of it?
Articulation difficulties can vary in severity and may affect a few specific sounds or a broader range of sounds. These challenges can interfere with effective communication, as others may have difficulty understanding what the child is trying to say. This can lead to frustration for both the child and the listener. Early intervention is crucial for children with articulation difficulties as it can prevent further obstacles in communication and social interactions. By addressing articulation challenges, children can build confidence in their ability to communicate clearly and effectively.
Taking Action: Tiny Articulators Course
If your child is experiencing challenges with speech articulation, we invite you grab our newest course, Tiny Articulators. This step by step course is designed to help children speak more clearly and consistently. We recommend this course once your child has reached the age of 18 months or older. Use this tool for early intervention or if you know your child needs additional articulation support. It includes our Speech Sound Screener so that you can test your child's ability to articulate specific speech sounds at home. Our course provides simple strategies and exercises with each sound laid out specifically for you to target the ones they are ready to work on the most.
If you suspect your child is experiencing articulation difficulties, it is recommended to seek the guidance of a qualified speech-language pathologist. They will conduct a thorough evaluation to identify specific areas of difficulty and design a personalized treatment plan to target those areas. With the support and expertise of a speech therapist, your child can develop improved articulation skills and enhance their overall communication abilities.
Understanding the distinction between speech and language is vital for parents seeking to support their child's communication development. By recognizing the signs of speech and language difficulties, you can take the necessary steps for intervention. If your child is facing challenges with speech articulation, our Tiny Articulators course offers a proactive solution to help them speak more clearly and consistently. Don't wait, take action now and empower your child with the gift of confident speech!
Note: This blog post has been crafted to address specific questions parents commonly ask about speech and language. The inclusion of the call to action for the Tiny Articulators course aims to provide a practical solution for parents seeking help with their child's speech articulation.