For a speech-language pathologist, the greatest gift we can give someone is the gift of language. Language forms the basis of how we learn and communicate including reading, writing, speaking, facial expressions and gestures. This includes:
- Formation. Phonology (how sounds blend), morphology (adapting words such as past tense ed, progressing such as ing, and stems), and syntax (arranging words correctly, i.e., grammar).
- Content. Vocabulary and how we use words to express ourselves, as well as how we understand others.
- Function. Social skills or pragmatics of communication such as laughing at a joke, reading between the lines or joining a conversation.
As many as 8 million people in the U.S. suffer from language impairment, including problems related to injuries or neurological disorders like stroke. If a language delay or a language disorder interferes with learning and communication development, we use norm-referenced and standardized assessment tools to evaluate the disorder. For children, we assess expressive and receptive vocabulary, the ability to follow and process directions with increasing complexity, and the ability to form sentences from simple to complex.