Speech Therapy vs Language Therapy

Jun 1, 2021 | Resources for Adults, Resources for Infants, Toddlers & Kids | 0 comments

Communication is a basic skill that provides an avenue for our needs to be met. What happens if your child doesn’t have the language to convey their needs? What happens if your child does have language, but the way they talk makes it impossible to understand what they are saying?  This is where a speech therapist and language therapist can step in to help!

Speech Therapy vs Language Therapy

What is the Difference Between Speech Therapy and Language Therapy?

To first understand the difference between the two therapies, it’s important to understand what each therapy is and what it is used for.

Speech therapy deals with the articulation or how the words are pronounced. Speech therapists focus on all components of the vocal tract to help coordinate the muscles required for speaking. Speech therapy can also be used for fluency disorders such as a stutter. 

Language therapy focuses on the acquisition of language, both expressive and receptive.  Expressive language is the ability to use language and receptive language is the ability to understand language. Language therapists can also help teach listening skills, following directions, and deficits in writing and reading comprehension.

Does My Child Need Speech Therapy?

Understanding the difference between the two therapies can help you determine which is a better fit for your child. 

If you can answer yes to some of these questions then speech therapy or articulation therapy could be beneficial for your child.

  • Do I have a difficult time understanding my child?
  • Can peers or other adults understand my child?
  • Are there certain words or sounds that are more difficult for my child to say correctly?

When answering these questions for your child, there are a few other things to keep in mind before jumping to the conclusion your child needs speech therapy. Children develop the ability to produce sounds gradually. Most children will outgrow certain speech abnormalities.  However, if you have concerns, talk to your child’s pediatrician to see if you can get a referral for speech services.

Does My Child Need Language Therapy?

To determine if your child could need language therapy here are some questions to keep in mind.

  • Can my child build their vocabulary by combining words to form phrases or sentences?
  • Does my child follow directions? Single or multi-step
  • Can my child answer a variety of questions?
  • Does my child communicate effectively with peers and adults?

One of the main things that should be emphasized is that when a child needs language therapy, they lack the actual words or language to communicate effectively. If they need speech therapy, they have the language but it is difficult to understand the words they are saying.

Could My Child Benefit from Speech Therapy and Language Therapy?

The short, simple answer is yes!  Many children with disabilities lack muscle control and require feeding therapy from an early age. As your child works with both therapists, they are able to increase their receptive and expressive language and they develop the motor skills required to use the language they are learning.

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