Speech and Language

Welcome to the Speech and Language home page!  Below you will find information regarding Speech Therapy, the role of Speech and Language Pathologists in the academic setting, and the different ways in which a Speech/Language deficit can impact a child academically.  For a comprehensive list of Therapies offered at Navigating Autism Plus, please visit our Programs and Fees page. 

Description of Speech-Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy includes the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of speech, language, cognitive-communication, and oral-motor disorders. Speech-Language Pathologists, or speech therapists, as they are commonly called, are trained and licensed to improve communication skills. Speech Therapists at Navigating Autism Plus help children and adolescents to develop their communication skills in the areas of:

• Articulation and phonological processing (production of speech sounds)

• Receptive and expressive language

• Literacy and phonological awareness

• Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

• Social-pragmatic language skills

• Play Skills

• Functional Communication

What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

A speech-language pathologist, also known as a speech therapist, specializes in the evaluation and treatment of individuals with speech or language difficulties. Speech production refers to the ability to accurately and rapidly sequence motor movements necessary for the production of speech. Language refers to the ability to understand verbal and nonverbal forms of communication, and communicate ideas in order to interact with and share information with others. 

Speech and Language Services in the Academic Setting

Purpose: The purpose of school based speech and language services is to support the student’s ability to access the curriculum and function successfully in the classroom environment.

Is the student able to communicate their understanding of academic skills?
Is the student able to understand academic content that is presented verbally?
Does the student have the ability to use language to participate in a classroom environment with peers and adults?

Areas Addressed by SLP’s in an Academic Setting

Receptive Language:

DEFINITION: this refers to language as it relates to the ability to gain information from the spoken word, often referred to as comprehension. It may relate to difficulty understanding words or how grammar impacts meaning.


  • difficulty processing and retaining auditory information
  • difficulty extracting the main idea
  • difficulty following instructions and direction
  • difficulty understanding what is said, may be exacerbated in group discussions
  • difficulty answering questions, may be related to limited understanding of question forms
  • sensitivity to sounds
  • difficulty filtering out background noise
  • easily distracted
  • exhibit pragmatic difficulties such as poor understanding and use of tone, facial gesture, body language and poor eye contact
  • comprehension difficulties they may result in difficulties with turn-taking in conversation
  • language limitations may interfere with topic maintenance
  •  difficulty with verbal reasoning
  •  difficulty remembering strings of words
  • difficulty discriminating between similar sounding words
  • difficulty discriminating the meaning of different tones of voice

Expressive Language:

DEFINITION: refers to oral language or may be referred to as oral expression.


  • use of short/immature sentences
  • may over-use pointing or gesture to convey meaning, be slow to express themselves, or omit grammatical words such as ‘is,’ a,’ ‘have’ or make mistakes with word endings
  • may struggle to retell events or a story in a meaningful sequence
  • may be unable to form sentences/questions appropriately
  • may put words in the wrong order, for example “go home me”
  • may be unable to retrieve the exact words they require resulting in frequent pauses or over-use of fillers such as ‘you know,’ and ‘thingy’
  • may find it hard to contribute to class discussions, or give explanations or describe what they are doing and what they know


DEFINITION: Refers to the use of language and relates to three major skill

  • Using language for different purposes, such as, greeting (e.g., hello, goodbye), informing (e.g., I’m going to get a cookie), demanding (e.g., Give me a cookie), promising (e.g., I’m going to get you a cookie), and requesting (e.g., I would like a cookie, please)
  • Changing language according to the needs of a listener or situation, such as talking differently to a baby than to an adult, giving background information to an unfamiliar listener, and speaking differently in the classroom than on the playground 
  • Following rules for conversations and storytelling, such as taking turns in conversation, introducing topics of conversation, staying on topic, rephrasing when misunderstood, how to use verbal and nonverbal signals, how close to stand to someone when speaking, and how to use facial expressions and eye contact


  • Difficulty with pragmatic language may result in challenges related to: Ability to make inferences related to character’s feelings/intentions/thoughts, Ability to ask for clarification as needed and when appropriate, and Ability to use inflection when reading orally
  • Difficulty with pragmatic language may result in challenges related to: Peer relationships,  Appropriate use of language in social contexts, Turn taking, Reduced participation, and Difficulty solving problems and making decisions


DEFINITION:   Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past the age when the child should make the sound correctly. Errors can include substitutions, omissions and distortions.


  • May impact ability to learn letter-sound correspondence
  • Decreased Spelling Skills
  • May inhibit classroom participation
  •  May interfere with peer relationships
  • Child may be difficult to understand


DEFINITION: Stuttering affects the fluency of speech. While most people produce brief dis-fluencies from time to time, stuttering includes repetitions, prolongations or blocks in speech usually accompanied by tension and sometimes accompanied by secondary characteristics.


  •   May inhibit classroom participation
  •  May interfere with peer relationship
  • May result in social isolatio
  • May result in poor self-esteem


DEFINITION: The ability to use words for meaning


  • Vocabulary, Concepts, Multiple Meanings, Categorization, Comparisons, and Synonyms/Antonyms
  • Comprehension of written or orally presented material
  • Ability to follow directions
  • Ability to use context clues to determine meaning
  • Difficulty expressing ideas/retrieving words
  • Difficulty understanding classroom/peer humor
  • Difficulty following directions within the classroom environment
  •  May get in trouble for not doing what is expected because they misunderstand expectations even after they have been explained


DEFINITION: Refers to the structure of language, what we most commonly think of as grammar. It includes both sentence structure rules and word structure rules.


  • Oral speech contains grammatical error
  • Writing often reflects the same grammatical errors as the child’s speech
  • The child may struggle using syntax as a reading strategy. That is they may not be able to use their knowledge of grammar to make predictions when reading.
  • Children with simple sentence structure may have difficulty with memory for language and may struggle to follow directions in sequence, or recall what they are asked to do

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