Glossary of Terms

There are a variety of terms, which you might here being referenced from time to time from your child’s physicians, teachers, and service providers.  Sometimes hearing these terms, without a clear understanding of their meaning, can be intimidating and confusing.  We hope to simplify things for you and your family by providing some basic descriptions of these common terms, which you might hear in conjunction with your child’s assessments and ensuing care.

Please find below a glossary of some basic terms that you may come encounter as you look into services to help your child. This is in no way a complete list of terms and diagnoses, but simply meant to help you as you navigate through the lingo associated with speech, language, feeding, and reading.

Glossary of Terms:

Articulation-The act of vocal expression; utterance or enunciation.

Aspiration– The taking in of solids or liquids down the trachea (windpipe) rather than the esophagus (path that food takes to the stomach). The liquid or solid is then inhaled into the lungs. In some cases there is coughing, but in many cases there is not. It can cause a number of health concerns, including pneumonia.

Auditory Processing Disorder– An umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. Individuals usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle and inner ear, but cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, with leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds and speech.

Babbling– Sound play that babies typically engage in between the ages of 4 months and 1 year. Babbling includes sound sequences such as “bababa” and “gagaga”.

Dyspraxia (interchangeably called Apraxia)- Impairment in the ability to plan out and execute a series of motor movements without impairment of the muscles of senses. Verbal Dyspraxia (or Verbal Apraxia) refers to the inability to time and manipulate movements of the mouth in concert with the voice to produce a sequence of sounds.

Fine Motor- Referring to small muscle skills related to the hands, fingers, tongue, and eyes. It includes manipulating utensils.

Hypersensitivity– Excessively or abnormally sensitive to a sensory stimulus, such as noise, taste, smell, touch, or movement.

Hypotoncity– Referring to muscle tone that is weak and “floppy” in appearance.

Phonemic Awareness- The understanding that spoken words are made up of individual sounds, which are called phonemes. It is a key pre-reading skill.

Phonological Processing Disorder– A disorder in the production of patterns of sounds.  (Such as final consonant deletion is the process of leaving off the final consonant sound in words)

Proprioceptive Input– Refers to pressure-based input given to the receptors in the muscles and joints to improve organization and attention.