At Melbourne Speech Clinics we realise that professional terminology can be confusing.
To help you, here is an array of terminology you may encounter.
If you require any further clarification please contact us.

Speech is the production of individual speech sounds and their combination into sequences to form words. There are various impairments of speech including disorders of respiration, phonation, resonance and articulation. Speech diagnosis include dysarthria, cleft lip and palate, velopharyngeal incompetency, phonological disorders, articulation disorders, hypernasality, hyponasality, hoarseness, breathiness, apraxia, dyspraxia and stuttering.

Language is the ability to use and understand meaningful verbal and non verbal symbols.

Impairments include disorders of understanding what is heard or read, and disorders of expression, use of gestures or words. Diagnoses include aphasia, dysphasia, developmental language delay, language impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Aspergers Syndrome, language disorder, language disability and phonological disorders.

Cognition is the ability to process information. Impairments may occur which affect communication in the areas of attention, memory and the retention and retrieval of information, sequencing of information, concentration and thought organisation and controls. Cognitive disorders have a significant impact on language functioning.

Apraxia is a motor speech/ sequencing disorder. The ability to find the immediate place of articulation and to move smoothly from one place of articulation to another is impaired.

Articulation Disorder is the individual substituting, omitting or distorting sounds in specific positions of word structure.

Aspergers Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum disorder that is characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction with associated repetitive and restrictive patterns of behaviour and interests. Pragmatic language skills are often reduced. It differs from Autism Spectrum disorder due to the relevant preservation of linguistic and cognitive development.

Auditory Processing Disorder is the impaired ability to receive, interpret, process, store and retrieve sounds, words and information.

Dysarthria: is the reduction of articulatory skill and precision due to nerve and/ or neural impairment.

Dysphagia is the disturbance of the swallowing pattern that may lead to a decreased ability to control fluids or foodstuffs orally, delay of swallow initiation, penetration of or aspiration of food or fluid into the airway.

Dysphasia is impaired expressive/ receptive language skills due to neurological impairment.

Dyspraxia is the partial impairment of the oromotor sequencing skill due to neurological impairment.

Expressive Language is our ability to transfer and express our thoughts and ideas through verbal or nonverbal channels.

Feeding Disorder is usually associated with young children experiencing difficulties in establishing a regular and competent feeding regime. It may be associated with a swallowing disorder (dysphagia).

Hypernasality is an excessive amount of nasal airflow and nasal vocal quality that detracts from a person`s voice.

Hyponasality is an inadequate amount of nasal airflow and nasal quality that detracts from a person`s voice.

Larynx is the part of our respiratory tract between the pharynx and trachea having walls of cartilage and muscle that houses and protects the vocal cords, all enveloped in mucous membrane. The central thyroid cartilage which houses and protects the vocal cords is usually prominent and is also known as the Adams apple.

Linguistics is the study of the nature, structure and variations of a language, including phonetics, phonology, syntax, morphology, semantics, sociolinguistics and pragmatics.

Otitis Media is the inflammation and infection of the middle ear cavity behind the eardrum.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder is a persistent and usually severe set of disorders that include Autism Spectrum disorder and Asperger`s syndrome. These disorders reduce the ability to process information, learn at a normal rate for age correlation and develop meaningful language and communication skills.

Phonology is the study of the sound systems of a language.

Pragmatics is the skill of using language to communicate functionally in a social exchange.

This involves topic initiation, turn taking, topic maintenance and shift and support behaviours to successfully maintain the verbal exchange of information, ideas, purpose and comment.

Receptive Language is the ability to receive, process and understand incoming speech and language.

Speech Pathology is the study of assessing, evaluating and treating communication and swallowing disorders.

Stammering is an alternate term for stuttering.

Stuttering is the involuntary repetition of sounds and or words. This disordered pattern of speech may also include a blocking or delay of voice and airflow initiation for speech.

Tympanic membrane is an alternate term for the eardrum. The tympanic membrane separates the middle ear from the outside world and is responsible for the transmission of sound waves via mechanical movement into eventual electrical impulses within the inner ear. These impulses are then interpreted by the brains auditory processing centres as sounds and speech.

Velopharyngeal Incompetence is the inability to close off the nasal space due to inadequate closure of the posterior pharyngeal wall (back of throat) and the soft palate.

Ventricular Phonation is the distorted production of voice and reduction in vocal quality caused by the movement, approximation and vibration of the ventricular bands (false vocal cords) that are positioned above the true vocal cords within the walls of the laryngeal tract.

Voice Disorders are a range of disorders that impair the voices quality, clarity, power, pitch, endurance, resonance and function. They can be caused by vocal abuse/ overuse, neurological conditions, trauma, psychological origin or pathology.


At Melbourne Speech Clinics we realise that professional terminology can be confusing.To help you, here is an array of terminology you may encounter.View Resources