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What is the difference between “speech” and “language”?

The title “speech/language pathologist”, which refers to the professional who helps people with communication disabilities, is often misunderstood.

“Speech” is coordination of the muscle movements necessary to talk. Speech is produced by the physical movements of the mouth (tongue, lips, teeth, palate) coordinated with the lungs and voicebox to produce sounds for others to hear. Some may refer to difficulties with speech as a “speech impediment” like a stutter or a lisp where the tongue protrudes through the teeth upon production of the speech sounds “s” and “z”.

“Language” is verbal and involves using words to form a message. The modes of communicating these messages can be through expressing thoughts, thinking, writing, reading, or understanding. Other modes of conveying language include nonverbal means such as body language, pointing, gesturing, and facial expressions.

People with autism will almost always be challenged by language and may or may not have trouble with speech production. Understanding the difference between speech and language allows people to correctly identify and work on the exact difficulties people with autism are experiencing.


Are you eager to help your child communicate better but not sure where to begin?

Hi! I'm Karen Kabaki-Sisto, an autism communication expert for over 20 years.

If your child with autism talks, he or she likely has difficulties understanding and expressing words, gestures, and feelings. I created this user-friendly tool to turn your observations into real insights about:







Upon completion, you'll instantly receive a detailed report of your child's current communication strengths and weaknesses. Over time, you can make new assessments (as often as you'd like) to monitor her or his progress.


Easy-to-follow and so necessary! 

What you will learn...

By submitting your E-mail, you'll receive a link to my FREE Communication Assessment Tool and ideas for overcoming communication challenges your verbal child with autism may be experiencing. I'll also send my personal E-mail address to connect with me directly about your concerns!  ~Karen :)

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