Receptive and Expressive Language

Some children have problems with understanding, also called receptive language. They may have trouble: 

  • Understanding what gestures mean 
  • Following directions 
  • Answering questions
  • Identifying objects and pictures 
  • Taking turns when talking with others 

Some children have problems talking, also called expressive language. They may have trouble: 

  • Asking questions 
  • Naming objects 
  • Using gestures 
  • Putting words together into sentences 
  • Learning songs and rhymes 
  • Using correct pronouns, like "he" or "they" 
  • Knowing how to start a conversation and keep it going 

Many children have problems with both understanding and talking.      

Articulation and Phonology

An articulation disorder involves difficulty making individual speech sounds. Sounds can be substituted, omitted, added or distorted.  

A phonological disorder involves difficulty organizing patterns of sounds and does not necessarily involve motor production of the individual sounds.

Apraxia of Speech

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. Children with CAS have problems saying sounds, syllables, and words. This is not because of muscle weakness or paralysis. The brain has problems planning to move the body parts (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue) needed for speech. The child knows what he or she wants to say, but his/her brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words.     


Stuttering affects the fluency of speech and often begins in childhood. Stuttered speech often includes repetitions of words or parts of words, as well as prolongations of speech sounds.

Written Language Disorders (Literacy)

Literacy is the ability to read and write. A disorder of written language may  involve an impairment in:


  • Fluent word recognition (reading/decoding)
  • Reading comprehension (understanding meaning) 
  • Written spelling (encoding)
  • Written expression (planning, organizing, drafting, editing etc)   

Problems can occur in the awareness, comprehension, and production of language at the sound, syllable, word, sentence, and discourse levels. 

Feeding Issues

Many children exhibit feeding disorders or sensitivities. These may present as the following:  

  • Restricted dietary variety 
  • Food refusal based on texture/color 
  • Limited fruit/veggie intake 
  • Preferences for starches      

* as described on the ASHA website