Below is a list of speech and language skills, as well as how these skills impact students when they are at school.
Articulation is the production of speech sounds. The development of correct articulation allows one to be clearly understood by his or her listeners. Students who make articulation errors may omit, substitute or distort one or more speech sounds. Articulation skills affect a child’s ability to verbally communicate with teachers and peers at school.
Oral Motor skills involve movements of the lips, jaw, tongue, and cheeks. Our oral motor musculature is what helps us to articulate speech sounds correctly. As a result, there must be adequate strength, tone, coordination, and sensation. Oral motor skills affect movement of the articulators, which in turn can impact a student's ability to correctly produce speech sounds.
Auditory Processing involves the way the brain deciphers information that it hears. It is the process of taking in sound through the ears and having it travel to the language center of the brain where it is interpreted. Auditory processing skills impact academic areas that involve listening and verbal comprehension. Some examples include following directions, understanding stories, problem solving, making inferences, and interpreting abstract information. Spelling and reading can also be affected by auditory processing skills because they can impact the way students interpret and analyze the rules of phonics that they hear.
Semantics is the understanding of words/vocabulary. Semantic skills affect almost all areas of communication in both academic and social settings. To understand the phrases, sentences, conversations, and lectures they hear, students must first comprehend the individual words being used. In turn, to communicate thoughts and ideas clearly one must have the vocabulary to do so. Listening, speaking, reading, and writing are all affected by semantic skills. A student’s ability to define, describe, compare and contrast, categorize, and make associations will depend on the strength of his/her semantic skills.
Syntax encompasses the understanding and use of grammatical rules. Grammar skills are necessary for both spoken and written language. An understanding of grammatical forms and the way they affect the meaning of sentences can affect both verbal and reading comprehension. Grammar and syntax can impact a student’s ability to effectively interpret, and communicate thoughts and ideas during both verbal and written language assignments.
Pragmatic language refers to social language skills. These skills involve the way one uses and comprehends social cues, body language, expressions, and conversational rules. Pragmatic language involves the way one initiates, maintains, and terminates a conversation, as well as one’s use of turn taking, eye contact, and personal space. Pragmatic language also affects a student’s ability to comprehend social language and expressions in what they read and hear.
Fluency is the aspect of speech production that refers to the continuous, smooth rate, and/or effort with which sounds, words, and sentences are spoken. Fluency disorders are often referred to as stuttering. Stuttering can limit classroom participation and affect peer relationships. Students who stutter can sometimes withdraw from academic and social situations despite their talents, abilities, and capability levels in these areas.