Articulation: the act of producing words or sounds (an articulation disorder affects the child’s ability to plan and physically produce the movements necessary for speech)
Autism Spectrum Disorder: characterized by deficits in language, social interaction, and restricted interests. These deficits are present to varying degrees in children with ASD, hence the “spectrum” of autism. The spectrum includes Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Rett’s disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS). Cognitive impairments may or may not be present in children with ASD.
Language: a system for communicating thoughts and ideas which includes verbal, gestural, and written forms.
Language sample: an assessment measure used by SLPs to gain information about a child’s language use in different contexts. Language samples are used for many reasons including analysis of linguistic complexity, cohesion, vocabulary, and turn-taking.
Milestone: a time by which a certain skill has typically developed. For example, an early language milestone is usually reached around 12 months, when a child says his or her first word.
Morphology: rules that govern how we put words together (often discussed in terms of grammatical morphemes that children develop such as plural –s or –ing)
Percentile rank: a score that represents where the child performs in relation to peers on a given norm-referenced measure. For example, a percentile rank of 87 indicates that the child performed as well as or better than 87 percent of the children who also completed that measure.
Phonology: the sound system of a language (a phonological disorder is one that disrupts the child’s ability to understand and use the sound systems of a language conceptually)
Pragmatics: rules that govern how we use language in social contexts
Semantics: words and their associated meanings (related to vocabulary)
Specific (or primary) Language Impairment (SLI): a disorder characterized by marked deficiency of expressive and/or receptive skills without delays in other domains (e.g. cognitive impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder)
Speech: the motor component of spoken communication that allows language to be expressed. It includes articulation, strength and coordination of the articulators, voice, and fluency.
Standard deviation: a measure of variance used to describe performance in relation to the mean (average) score. For example, a child who receives a score 2 standard deviations below the mean is performing much lower as compared to his or her peers.
Standardized test: an assessment measure that is designed to be administered in the same way every time it is given. A child’s performance on the test is compared to normative data in order to yield descriptive measures like standard scores and percentile ranks.
Syntax: the rules that govern how we form utterances (grammar)
Center on Human Development and Disability,
Clinical Training Unit, University of Washington,
Box 357920, Seattle, WA 98195-7920 firstname.lastname@example.org