Depending on a families experiences, the understanding of pediatric speech therapy varies. Some may see the speech-language pathologist as the expert to consult for communication challenges. The ability to initiate and carry on a conversation, respond to others, turn take with activities and follow instructions would all be examples of communication skills. Others may think of a speech therapist as the professional who helps a child correct sound production errors. And yet others may see speech therapists as the “go to” person for receptive and expressive language challenges related to producing meaningful language and understanding language. Some families know that a speech therapist helps with feeding, voice and stuttering disorders. To learn more about the broad field of speech therapy Richardson families can visit Speech & Occupational Therapy of North Texas.
In actuality, a speech-language pathologist has extensive training and experience in all these areas, and more. One domain of speech-language therapy is known as morphology. Morphology has to do with meaningful units of language, with the smallest unit being a morpheme. Grammar is typically associated with morphemes. For example, -ing is a grammatical morpheme that signals present progressive. It is happening right now, as in crying or jumping. So it is a consistent sound unit that typically always has the some meaning when applied to a word. When a child has a language disorder that is exhibited as a delay in delayed grammar development, they frequently need the assistance of a speech language pathologist. A child may need help understanding the concept that underlies the grammatical process so they can understand the meaning others are trying to convey and also produce would they want to say accurately.
Though not a complete list, here are some Grammatical Morpheme Milestones:
Regular plurals, possessives, present tense auxiliary (can, will)
Past tense modals (could, would, must), “be” verbs + present tense (the girl is eating)
Regular past tense, irregular past tense, use or articles (a, the)
Irregular 3rd person single (she has it), past tense “be” verbs (she was eating)
From this abbreviated list one can see that morpheme development becomes more complex as a child ages and there is a progression where some skills build on the acquisition of other skills. For more information about morphological development, visit
If a child seems to be delayed in morphological development compared to their same age peers it would be wise to talk to a pediatrician about concerns with speech and language development. Parents may want to contact a pediatric speech therapist to schedule a complete evaluation. Speech evaluations and treatment are often covered by health insurance. A speech language pathologist (also referred to as a speech therapist) will complete a standardized assessment, observe the child in natural communication situations and will also get detailed information from the family regarding medical and developmental history and current functioning. If the evaluation reveals a speech or language disorder, a detailed, measureable treatment plan will be developed for the child. Therapy will target specific goals in fun ways so the child will internalize new skills more thoroughly. The speech therapist will also demonstrate strategies for families and provide home practice to increase generalization of skills. Successful treatment is a partnership!
For more information about speech therapy Richardson families can visit www.speechandot.com.