Speech and Language
How Speech/Language Problems Can Affect Academic Performance
Articulation: The production of speech sounds
Good articulation skills are required for verbal expression in all curricular areas. Multiple articulation errors can indicate a disordered phonological system which could impact on spelling and reading. Noticeable differences in speech production can have a negative impact on self-confidence, peer relationships, and vocational/career opportunities.
Oral Motor: Oral/facial neuro-motor functioning for speech and non-speech tasks
Disorders in muscle tone, movement, and sensation of the articulators may affect speech production, chewing, drinking, swallowing, and the ability to manage saliva. Severe disorders may affect self-confidence, and limit social and vocational/career opportunities.
Voice: Pitch, quality, and volume
Noticeable differences in vocal pitch, quality, and volume can affect self-confidence and peer relationships. Poor vocal hygiene can lead to lasting physical changes of the vocal folds. Voice differences can be a symptom of medical concerns.
Fluency: The smooth flow of speech
Dysfluency (sound/syllable repetitions, blocking, use of conversation fillers) can inhibit participation in classroom and extra-curricular activities and affect peer relationships. Vocational/career choices may be limited, despite the individual's competency levels in non-speech areas.
Auditory Processing: Attention, memory, auditory discrimination, sound blending, sequencing
Deficits in these skills can affect performance in all academic areas that involve auditory reception and processing of curricular material and following oral directions. Spelling and reading may be affected by difficulty analyzing and applying the phonemic code.
Semantics: Word knowledge including vocabulary, definitions, multiple meanings, concepts, categorization, comparisons, synonyms, antonyms, analogies
All areas of communication (listening, speaking, reading, writing) are affected by weakness in semantic skills, thereby impacting on all areas of the curriculum.
Morphology: Word knowledge including prefixes, suffixes, regular and irregular changes to a root word to express quantity, tense, comparative relationships, and function of word (subject, object, possessive, modifier, etc.).
All areas of communication (listening, speaking, reading, writing) are affected by weakness in morphology, thereby impacting on all areas of the curriculum.
Syntax: Rules related to parts of speech, word order, and sentence construction
The knowledge of grammatical rules is essential for receptive and expressive language. Deficits in syntax impact on the ability to comprehend, analyze, and produce language effectively.
Pragmatics: Social appropriateness of interactions, nonverbal communication, making inferences, executive functioning, critical thinking.
Deficits in these skills affect listening, problem solving, reading comprehension, study skills, decision making, oral and written language, and social relationships.
From 2002 Speaking of Speech.com, Inc.