Language skills can be broken up into receptive (language children understand) and expressive (how language is utilized) language. Please click on Language Development located on the navigation bar on the left for a quick glimpse of the ages specific language develops. Aspects of language include:
- Morphology - Rules of language that deal with the internal organization of words. A morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit of language. It cannot be broken up without changing the meaning or making it meaningless on its own. (For example: dog is one morpheme. You can break dog into "d" and "og" but each unit would be meaningless on it's own. Most words in English are made up of one to two morphemes. It is a bridge between phonology and syntax.
- Phonology - The way sounds function and are organized in language. It is the rules that govern the structure, distribution as well as the sequencing of speech sounds as they form words. A phoneme is the smallest unit of meaningful sound. Words are comprised of many phonemes blended together. The combination and sequence of phonemes is governed by phonological rules. This is different than the mechanical act of speech production. When addressing articulation errors we work on the production of specific phonemes as they are used in different locations within a word (initial, medial, and final).
- Pragmatics - The social aspect of language. The way language is used to communicate. Pragmatics is social language rules and the way we communicate messages. Examples of Pragmatic language include: topic maintenance of voice, eye contact, body language,conversation initiation and conduction. Pragmatic language utilizes all other areas of language.
- Semantics - Rules of language concerned with the meaning or content of words and word combinations. The meaning of words is only a part of semantics. Meanings within sentences is another part. Sentences represent meaning that is greater than single word meanings. The relationship between the words is represented through the sentence.
- Syntax - Organizational rules for word order and sentence organization. This is also known as grammar. These rules govern the correct word order, sentence organization, relationships between words, word classes, and other sentence elements. Some examples of syntax include: verb tenses, pluralizations, pronoun usage and noun-verb agreement. The syntactic rules specify which word combinations are acceptable, or grammatically correct, and which are not.
Students with language difficulties can have difficulty understanding or verbally communicating. They may have poor sentence structure or incorrect use of language forms. Reading and writing deficits may be noted. Students may have difficulty listening and demonstrating comprehension of information. They may also have difficulty with conversational skills.
Language based therapy can take on many forms. We often try to work on curriculum related tasks. The concepts and vocabulary related to the curriculum can be pre-taught and reinforced within the therapy room. We can work on specific areas of language deficits through practice and drills within the therapy room. Therapy can also focus on basic vocabulary and concept development. Language therapy is tailored to the specific needs of each child.
Some of this information was taken from: "Language Development: An Introduction- 4th Edition," Robert E. Owens, Jr., 1996, Allyn & Bacon