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Auditory Discrimination

the ability to recognise and distinguish similarities and differences between speech sounds.

Auditory Memory

the ability to process and retain heard information for long enough to act on it (sometimes called Short-term auditory memory).


Muscle weakness which affects someone’s ability to make accurate speech sounds.  Speech can sound slurred.


A motor speech disorder which makes it difficult to plan and use speech sounds. Speech may include the inconsistent use of sounds.


Repetition of another’s speech sounds or language in a non-meaningful way.


A feature of speech when Speech sounds are affected by too much air flow down the nose.


Individual Education Plan (IEP)

Specific targets or strategies put in place by a school or preschool setting to aid a child’s access to the curriculum.

Information Carrying Words (ICW)

The number of key words that must be understood for the overall meaning of a spoken or signed utterance to be carried out e.g. “Show me the teddy's nose” = 2ICW (also known as key words).


the rhythm of how we speak.

Language Delay

language development that is following a normal pattern, but of a younger child. Development occurs at a slower rate.

Language Disorder

language development that follows an irregular pattern.


repeating the child’s sentence/ sign and thus providing an example of accurate words and phrases, to hear without the expectation for them to repeat.

Non-verbal Communication

The ways we communicate that don’t use speech e.g the way you listen, gesture, look, move, and react


The patterns of sounds in a language and how they are used

Phonological Awareness

The awareness of sounds within spoken words, this includes identifying syllables, rhymes and individual sounds


The rules about how we use language in social situations, including the use of eye contact, turn taking, initiation of conversation, and maintaining a topic of conversation.

Pre-linguistic Skills

Skills that develop before language and are needed for communication development e.g. eye contact, turn taking, pretend play.

Selective Mutism

When a child chooses not to speak in certain situations or to certain people although they have the ability to do so.

Semantic-Pragmatic Disorder

Difficulties with conversational interaction, such as initiating appropriate topics of conversation, and understanding non-literal meanings e.g. “It’s raining cats and dogs”.

Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)

a teacher or early years staff member who coordinates the provision for children with special educational needs or disabilities in their setting. 

Speech and Language Therapist (SLT)

A qualified healthcare professional with graduate level training and registered to practice with the Health and Care Professions Council

Speech Delay

When a child’s speech develops following a normal pattern, but at a slower rate, than expected.

Speech Disorder

When a child’s speech develops following an unusual pattern.

Transfer of Care

When the responsibility for a specific aspect of a child's care is transferred from one professional to another, for example from a Speech and Language Therapist to a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCo)


Being able to make sense of what is said, signed or written (also referred to as Comprehension or Receptive Language).

Visual Timetable

the use of pictures and/or objects to represent different parts of a school day or child's daily routine.

Word Finding Difficulties

inability to reliably retrieve a known target word from memory.