What is a Language Disorder?

Greetings everyone!  I am back for week three of Better Hearing and Speech Month (2017).  I would like to share with you guys basic information on “What is a Language Disorder?  Let’s take a look below!

A language disorder can be defined as the abnormal acquisition, comprehension or use of spoken or written language.  This includes all receptive and expressive language skills.  The disorder may involve any aspect of the form, content or use components of the linguistic system.

Classification of Language Disorders

A disorder can involve both the comprehension and production of language.  Language comprehension (receptive language) refers to the ability to derive meaning from incoming auditory or visual messages.  Language production (expressive language) involves the combination of linguistic symbols to form meaningful messages.  Language disorders are general classified according to the major components of the linguistic system:

Semantics involves the meaning of individual words and the rules that govern the combinations of word meanings to form meaningful phrases and sentences.  Impairments in this subsystem can take the form of reduced vocabulary, restricted semantic categories, word retrieval deficits, poor word association skills and difficulty with figurative (nonliteral) language forms such as idioms, metaphors and humor.

Morphology involves the structure of words and the construction of individual word forms from the basic elements of meaning (i.e., morphemes).  Deficits in this component are manifested as difficulties with inflectional markers such as plurals, past tense, auxiliary verbs, possessives and so on.

Syntax involves the rules governing the order and combination of words in the construction of well-formed sentences.  Syntactic deficits are characterized by problems with simple and complex sentence types such as negatives, interrogatives, passives and relative clauses as well as occasional word-order difficulties.

Pragmatics involves the rules governing the use of language in social context.  Pragmatic impairments can include a reduced repertoire of communicative intentions, turn-taking difficulties in conversation, an inability to repair messages that are not understood by the listener and difficulty with narrative discourse such as storytelling.

Phonology involves the particular sounds (i.e., phonemes) that comprise the sound system of a language and the rules that govern permissible sound combinations.  Children with phonologically based problems demonstrate difficulty in acquiring a phonological system, not necessarily in production of the sounds.  These children do not simply possess an incomplete system of speech sounds; rather, their errors have logical and coherent principles underlying their use.

I hope I have helped someone develop a better understanding of a language disorder.  If you suspect that your child has a language impairment, please consult with a Speech-language pathologist as soon as possible.  I thank you for taking the time to read the information that has been presented.  Week four’s topic of discussion will be “What is a Fluency Disorder?”


Roth, Froma P. and Worthington, Colleen K.  Treatment Resource Manual for Speech-Language Pathology 2nd Edition.  Albany:  Singular Thomson Learning, 2001.  Print.

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Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Articulation/Phonological Disorder(s)

Hi everyone!  I’m back for week two of Better Hearing & Speech Month (2017).  This week, I’m focusing on “Articulation/Phonological Disorder(s).”

I know there are times when parents are a bit confused when the Speech-language pathologist tells them that their son or daughter doesn’t have an articulation disorder, but a phonological disorder.  I’m here to give a brief explanation of the difference between the two.


An Articulation Disorder is a speech disorder that affects the phonetic level (takes care of the motor act of producing the vowels and consonants, so that we have a repertoire of all the sounds we need in order to speak our language(s).  The child exhibits difficulty producing particular consonants and vowels.  The reason for this may be unknown (i.e., children with functional speech disorders who do not have serious problems with muscle function); or the reason may be known (i.e., children with dysarthria who do have serious problems with muscle function).

A Phonological Disorder is actually a language disorder that affects the phonological (phonemic-is in charge of the brainwork that goes into organizing the speech sounds into patterns of sound contrasts) level.  The sounds need to contrast with each other or be distinct from one another, so that we can make sense when we talk.

How do they differ?

In an Articulation Disorder, the child’s difficulty is at a phonetic level.  That is, the child is having trouble producing the individual speech sounds (even though there is nothing wrong with their articulators).

In a Phonological Disorder, the child’s difficulty is at a phonemic level (in the mind).  This phonemic level is sometimes referred to as “the linguistic level” or “a cognitive level.”

I hope now that you have a better understanding between the two!  If you suspect that your child exhibits difficulty with sound production, I recommend that you consult with a Speech-language pathologist to determine the next course of action.


Bowen, C. (2011).  What is the difference between an articulation disorder and a phonological disorder?  Retrieved from on May 11, 2017.

Note:  On week three, I will be discussing “What is a Language Disorder?”  I look forward to engaging with you regarding this topic.  Thank you!

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Posted by on May 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


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What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?

Hi everyone!  I apologize for posting this topic so late.  I have been really busy with work, this week, and wasn’t able to post at the beginning of the week to kick off the celebration of “Better Hearing and Speech Month” (for the month of “May”).  But, I guess it’s better late than never…:)

For week one, I would like to give a brief explanation of “What is a Speech-language pathologist?”  Often times, many people have heard of a “Speech-Language Pathologist,” but don’t have a general understanding of what our work entails…The information presented below will assist in developing a better understanding of “What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?”


The need for a professional to deal with disorders of speech was identified in the 1920s; however. “speech correctionists” were not introduced to the schools until the 1950s.  IN the beginning, speech correctionists dealt with articulation, but over the years, the field has grown to include voice, fluency, language, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), accent reduction, acquistion and oral-motor evaluations and therapies.  SLPs deal with people of all ages in schools, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and private practice.

Education and Certification:

There are four professional terms associated with speech therapy:

  1.  “Speech Correctionists”
  2.   “Speech Therapists”
  3.   “Speech-Language Pathologist” or “Speech Pathologist”
  4.   “Speech-Language Specialist”

These four terms are often used interchangeably, but can mean different things.  In the 1950s, a person would receive a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Correction.  This certificate was given until the mid-eighties when the requirements for the teaching certificate changed.

Today, in order to work in most schools, an SLP must obtain “Speech-Language Specialist” or “Speech-Language Pathologist” certificate which requires a master’s degree and approximately 300 clinical hours in diagnostics and interventions.

The master’s program for Speech-Language Pathology is unique in that it combines science, education, medicine and psychology.  Most graduate program 40-60 graduate credits, in addition to several clinical internships.

SLPs may also be registered to obtain two additional certificates:  The Certificate of Clinical Competence and a state license (CCC).  The CCCs are issued when the SLP completes a master’s degree, 375 hours of supervised clinical hours in communication disorders and therapy, a passing score on the ASHA exam and completion of a Clinical Fellowship Year.  State license requirements vary.  SLPs are usually praxis referred to as “Speech-Language Pathologists” or “Speech Therapists.”

Job Duties:

School-Based Program:  Articulation therapy, Voice therapy, Stuttering therapy, Language therapy, Child Study Team Member, Group language lessons, Sign language programs, Speech reading programs, Speech/language evaluations and Hearing screenings

Rehabilitative Program:  Dysphagia therapy, Videofloroscopy studies, Laryngectomy patients, Closed head injury, Stroke and trauma, Alzheimer’s patients, Cleft palate, Speech/language testing and Hearing screenings

Note:  The information presented above was derived from the “Super Duper Handy Handouts” called “What’s News in Speech!”  The author is Robyn Merkel-Piccini, M.A., CCC-SLP.

Thank you for taking the time to read the information presented above.  The next topic, for week two, will address Articulation/Phonology Disorder(s).


Posted by on May 6, 2017 in Uncategorized


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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month (BHSM)

Greetings everyone!  May is “Better Hearing and Speech Month!”  Each May, BHSM provides an opportunity to raise awareness about communication disorders and the role of ASHA (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association) members in providing life-altering treatment.  For 2017, our theme is “Communication:  The Key to Connection.”  Each week, I will be providing information regarding communication disorders as well as resources for you to keep and to share with others who may be interested in learning more!  I look forward to our many discussions!

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Posted by on April 30, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Check out the Listening Power App Series

Greetings everyone!  I would like to share with you some groundbreaking apps that help strengthen language and auditory processing skills in children.  These apps be downloaded on the App Store.  They are as follows:

Listening Power Preschool:  Listening for Descriptions, Listening for Directions, Listening for Grammar and Listening for Stories with and without Pictures

Listening Power Grades K-3:  Listening for Descriptions, Listening for Directions, Listening for Grammar, Listening for Stories and Listening for Word Memory

Listening Power Grades 4-8+:  Listening for Grammar, Listening for Meaning, Listening for Fast Sentences, Listening for Missing Sounds and Listening for Stories

For additional information on Hamaguchi Apps, please visit!

Thank you for stopping by!

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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


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Six Strategies to Improve the Phonology of Young Children

Greetings everyone!  I would like to share with you an interesting article I recently came across regarding strategies to improve the phonology of young children.  This article is beneficial to both Speech-language pathologists and parents!  This article was written by Speech-language pathologist, Elizabeth Redhead Kriston.  Mrs. Kriston stated that over the years she has found success with the following techniques:

  1.  Say It How They Say It:  When kids change the meaning of their message by inadvertently shaping a word into an alternate word, reflect back to what they said and what they meant to say.
  2. Read Books:  Introduce minimal pair therapy in an approachable way while supporting literacy.  The “Word Menders Series” of books are a great way to address many goals.
  3. Act It Out:  “The Stimulability Character Cards,” while not specifically designed to work on phonological processes, introduce all consonants in beginning and medial positions by pairing fun actions with the illustrations.  Little kids love these and really enjoy acting out and saying the phrases.
  4. Keep It Playful:  Introduce minimal pair therapy using objects supplemented by flashcards in play.  Name the target words pointing out the contrasts in meaning as you place them into a dump truck or slide them down a slide.  For example, with voicing errors have a “fan” and a “van” to show as you label.
  5. Encourage Listening Skills:  Auditory training activities, as well as auditory bombardment, help kids decipher word meanings while helping them hear correct productions.
  6. Educate Parents:  Parents who don’t understand the process behind typical speech-language development can become concerned when their kids say words incorrectly.  It is imperative to explain the role phonological processes play in typical speech-language development and answer any questions they may have.

Thank you so very much for reading!  I look forward to our many discussions and sharing of ideas!


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Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Uncategorized


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University of Houston Clearlake (Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities)

Greetings everyone!  I hope each and every one of you have had a wonderful New Year!  I would like to make those of you aware, who are located in the Houston, TX area, of the following community speaker series at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) on the campus of University of Houston-Clearlake:

February 11, 2017:  “Don’t Sweat the Hard Stuff:  Managing Problem Behavior During Work Time”; Speaker:  Channing Langlinais; Location:  Bayou Building (Room 1510-Garden Room); Time:  10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

March 25, 2017:  “How to Make ‘You’re hired!’ A Reality:  Preparing Teens for Their First Job”; Speaker:  Carolyn Grobb; Location:  Bayou Building (Room 1510-Garden Room); Time:  10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

April 15, 2017:  “Look Who’s Talking!  Teaching Early Communication Skills”; Speaker:  Stephanie Smothermon; Location:  Bayou Building (Room 1510-Garden Room); Time:  10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

These are some very interesting topics and I’m certain a wealth of information will be given to those who attend.  As always, thank you for stopping by and I look forward to our many discussions and sharing of ideas!

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Posted by on January 29, 2017 in Uncategorized


Happy New Year!

We at Perfekt Me Speech Therapy Services, PLLC would like to wish each and everyone a happy and prosperous new year!

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Posted by on January 2, 2017 in Uncategorized


Special Education Advocacy

Greetings everyone!  I would like to pass along some information regarding FREE training workshops to parents, local support groups, schools, churches and other organizations in the Houston, TX area.  These trainings are designed to help parents (and others) gain the information they need to increase their advocacy skills.  Trainings include, but are not limited to, “Getting to Know My Child Packet,” “Organizing Your Child’s File,” “Special Education 101,” “How to Get the Most Out of Your Child’s ARD Meeting,” “Obtaining One-to-One Services” and “Transitioning From ECI to Pre-School and Kindergarten.”  Trainings can be tailored to meet your needs.  Also, additional trainings will be added in the future.

These trainings are presented by Special Education Advocate, Samantha Davis, who is located in Pearland, TX.  For additional information, please visit

For those individuals, living in the state of Texas, who can not afford an advocate or an attorney, the following organizations may be able to assist you:

Disability Rights Texas (Protection and Advocacy)
The ARC of Texas
Partners Resource Network (Parent training and information center)


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Posted by on March 19, 2016 in Uncategorized


BACH Roll ‘N Stroll & Carnival

Greetings everyone!  I would like to pass along some information to those of you in the Houston, TX area regarding “BACH Roll ‘N Stroll & Carnival!”  Mark your calendars and plan to join BACH on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the MacLean Park Pavilion in Lake Jackson, TX from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

In an effort to continue providing valuable services to children birth to twelve years of age with disabilities and/or developmental delays, BACH needs your help!  The BACH Roll ‘N Stroll is one of three annual fundraisers to raise needed funds to support BACH and its programs.  All funds raised stay in Brazoria County.

There are many ways you can help including:  being an event sponsor, forming a team raising funds to win incremental prizes and compete for top fundraising individual or team, setting up a booth at the event showcasing your team or business providing a carnival style game for the children, and/or volunteering your time and talents.

As an event sponsor, your name will be displayed on a donor board at the event, on the back of event t-shirts, on BACH’s website and Facebook page, and you will have the opportunity to take a picture and present a first place medal to the children after they finish their races.

If you have any questions, please contact Shelly Guidry, by email, at or at (979) 849-2447.


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Posted by on February 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


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