Speech Therapy Glossary
Aphasia (or dysphasia) – indicates a person’s ability to use or understand language is affected; aphasia is usually caused by stroke, traumatic brain injury, or diseases of the brain
Apraxia of speech – a specific speech disorder characterized by an inability to control and coordinate the movements needed to make speech sounds (despite normal muscle functioning); the ability to say words or make speech sounds is inconsistent. Apraxia is sometimes called verbal apraxia, developmental apraxia of speech, or verbal dyspraxia.
Articulation Disorder – difficulty correctly producing speech sounds (phonemes) because of problems with the articulators (lips, teeth, tongue, jaw, soft palate)
Alternative/Augmentative Communication (AAC) – a substitute or supplemental tool used for communication by individuals with absent or limited speech. AAC may include communication boards with photos or symbols or electronic devices.
Auditory Processing Disorder – difficulty in how the central nervous system (CNS) uses auditory information; a problem with how the brain recognizes and interprets sounds, most notably the sounds composing speech
Backing – when sounds that should be made at the front of the mouth (such as ‘t’) are made at the back instead; an example would be saying ‘key’ for ‘tea.’
Bilateral hearing loss – a loss of hearing in both ears
Cluster Reduction – when two consonants at the beginning of a word are reduced to just one (e.g., saying ‘sand’ instead of ‘stand’)
Conductive Hearing Impairment – hearing loss caused by dysfunction of the outer or middle ear
Dysarthria – when facial muscle weakness affects speech production, leaving it sounding slurred, flat, nasal or jerky in rhythm. Dysarthria occurs as a result of brain or nerve damage.
Dysfluency (or stuttering) – When the smooth flow of speech is interrupted. Dysfluency may occur by repetition of whole words, repetition of a single sound, prolonging of sounds, or blocking, where the mouth is open but no sound comes out. Facial tension may be present and occasionally extra body movements may occur.
Dysphagia – difficulty swallowing
Expressive Language – The area of language skills related to communicating information verbally.
Fronting – When sounds that should be made at the back of the mouth are made at the front (e.g. ‘tea’ instead of ‘key’ or ‘tar’ instead of ‘car’)
Myofunctional Therapy – a specific therapy program utilized to correct forward tongue placement/tongue thrusting, correct deviant swallowing patterns, eliminate thumb sucking habits, and maintain orthodontic retention
Oral Motor/Oral Placement Therapy – movement techniques used in therapy to facilitate muscle memory and increase range of motion, strength, and coordination for specific speech sound execution
Phonological Difficulties – difficulty selecting and using the correct sounds necessary for speech; difficulties can be characterized dependent on where or how the sound is made. See backing, fronting, stopping, and cluster reduction for more information.
Pragmatic Language – The area of language skills related to social use of language/communication
Receptive Language – The area of language skills related to processing and understanding information
Stopping – When long sounds come out as short ones (e.g., ‘sand’ comes out as ‘dand’ or ‘socks’ come out as ‘docks’)
Syntax/Morphology – the area of language skills related to grammatical use of words
Vocal Nodule – a callous-like growth that is noncancerous and grows on the inner part of the vocal cords, caused by vocal misuse or abuse
Occupational Therapy Glossary
Adaptive response – an appropriate action in which the individual responds successfully to some environmental demand; requires good sensory integration and furthers the sensory integration process
ADL/ADLs – Activities of Daily Living
Dyspraxia – deficient motor planning that is often related to a decrease in sensory processing
Eye-Hand Coordination – the efficient teamwork of the eyes and hands, necessary for activities such as playing with toys, dressing, and writing
Fine Motor – referring to movement of the muscles in the fingers, toes, eyes and tongue
Fine Motor Skills – the skilled use of one’s hands – the ability to move the hands and fingers in a smooth, precise and controlled manner. Fine motor control is essential for efficient handling of classroom tools and materials – may also be referred to as dexterity.
Gravitational Insecurity – extreme fear and anxiety that one will fall when one’s head position changes
Gross Motor – movements of the large muscles of the body
Gross Motor Skills – coordinated body movements involving the large muscle groups; for example, running, walking, hopping, climbing, throwing and jumping
Hypersensitivity – oversensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterized by a tendency to be either fearful and cautious, or negative and defiant
Hypersensitivity to Movement – a sense of disorientation and/or avoidance of movement that is linear and/or rotary
Hyposensitivity – under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, characterized by a tendency either to crave intense sensations or to withdraw and be difficult to engage
Motor Control – the ability to regulate and monitor the motions of one’s muscle group to work together harmoniously to perform movements
Motor Coordination – the ability of several muscles or muscle groups to work together harmoniously to perform movements
Motor Planning – the ability to conceive of, organize, sequence, and carry out an unfamiliar and complex body movement in a coordinated manner, a piece of praxis
Muscle Tone – the degree of tension normally present when one’s muscles are relaxed, or in a resting state
Perception – the meaning the brain attributes to sensory input
Postural Adjustments – the ability to shift one’s body in order to change position for a task
Postural Insecurity – a fear of movement/head/posture changes due to poor control of one’s trunk or posture
Postural Stability – being able to maintain one’s body in a position to efficiently complete a task or demand, using large muscle groups at the shoulders and hips
Praxis – the ability to interact successfully with the physical environment; to plan, organize, and carry out a sequence of unfamiliar actions, and to do what one needs and wants to do. Praxis is a broad term indicating voluntary and coordinated action. Motor planning is often used as a synonym for praxis.
Proprioception – the unconscious awareness of sensations coming from one’s joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments; the “position sense”
Rotary Movement – turning or spinning in circles
Self-Help Skills – competence in taking care of one’s personal needs, such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, and studying. Also referred to as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Self-Regulation – the ability to control one’s activity level and state of alertness, as well as one’s emotional, mental or physical responses to senses; self-organization
Sensorimotor – pertaining to the brain-behavior of taking in sensory messages and reacting with a physical response
Sensory Defensiveness – child’s behavior in response to sensory input, reflecting severe over-reactions or a low threshold to a specific sensory input
Sensory Diet – the multisensory experiences that one normally seeks on a daily basis to satisfy one’s sensory appetite; a planned and scheduled activity program that an occupational therapist develops to help a person become more self-regulated
Sensory Discrimination – the ability to perceive various aspects of sensation (light, touch, texture, smell, taste, etc.)
Sensory Input – the constant flow of information from sensory receptors in the body to the brain and spinal cord
Sensory Integration/Sensory Processing – the normal neurological process taking in information from one’s body and environment through the senses, of organizing and unifying this information, and using it to plan and execute adaptive responses to different challenges in order to learn and function smoothly in daily life
Sensory Integrative Dysfunction – the inefficient neurological processing of information received through the senses, causing problems with learning, development and behavior
Sensory Integration Treatment – a technique of occupational therapy, which provides playful, meaningful activities that enhance an individual’s sensory intake and lead to more adaptive functioning in daily life
Sensory Modulation – increasing or reducing neural activity to keep that activity in harmony with all other functions of the nervous system; maintenance of the arousal state to generate emotional responses, sustain attention, develop appropriate activity level and move skillfully
Sensory Processing Skills – the ability to receive and process information from one’s sensory systems including touch (tactile), visual, auditory (hearing), proprioceptive (body position) and vestibular (balance). Behavior, attention and peer interactions are greatly influenced by the child’s ability to process sensory stimuli.
Sensory Registration – initial awareness of a single input; assigning value and emotional tone to a stimulus.
Tactile – refers to the sense of touch and various qualities attributed to touch, including detecting pressure, temperature, light touch, pain, discriminative touch
Tactile Defensiveness – the tendency to react negatively and emotionally to unexpected light touch sensations
Vestibular – refers to our sense of movement and the pull of gravity, related to our body
Vestibular Sense – the sensory system that responds to changes in head position and to body movement through space, and that coordinates movements of the eyes, head and body. Receptors are the inner ear.
Visual Discrimination – differentiating among symbols and forms, such as matching or separating colors, shapes, numbers, letters, and words
Visual Figure-Ground – differentiation between objects in the foreground and in the background
Visual Motor – referring to one’s movements based on the perception of visual information
Visual Motor Skills – the ability to visually take in information, process it and be able to coordinate your physical movement in relation to what has been viewed. It involves the combination of visual perception and motor coordination. Difficulty with visual motor skills can result in inaccurate reaching, pointing and grasping of objects, as well as difficulty with copying, drawing, tracing and cutting.
Visual Perception – the ability to perceive and interpret what the eyes see
Visual Perceptual Skills – the ability to interpret and use what is seen in the environment. Difficulties in this area can interfere with a child’s ability to learn self-help skills like tying shoelaces and academic tasks like copying from the blackboard or finding items in a busy background.
Visual-Spatial Processing Skills – perceptions based on sensory information received through the eyes and body as one interacts with the environment and moves one’s body through space. Including: Depth perception, directionality, form constancy, position in space, spatial awareness, visual discrimination, visual figure-ground.
Physical Therapy Glossary
Base of support – the weight-bearing surface of the body; for example: in standing = the feet
Bilateral – pertaining to two sides of the body, as in: both arms or both legs
Cervical – pertaining to the neck
Core – pertaining to the trunk of the body (primarily abdominals and back)
Dissociation – to separate; for example: one extremity/limb performs a movement without the other extremity doing the same or similar movement at the same time
Extension – a straightening or backward movement of the spine or limbs
External rotation – an outward turning of the limb away from the body
Flexion – a bending or forward movement of the spine or limbs
Gross Motor – refers to movement of large muscle groups
Hamstrings – a muscle group on the back of the thigh that can bend/flex the knee and straighten/extend the hip
Hyperextension – excessive movement in the direction of extension
Internal rotation – an inward turning of the limb toward the body
Instability – lack of firmness in weight-bearing; difficulty maintaining weight bearing
Lumbar – pertaining to the low back
Midline – the theoretical lines that divide the body into two equal halves vertically or horizontally
Motor Control – the ability of the Central Nervous System (CNS) to regulate or direct the musculoskeletal system in a purposeful act
Motor Planning – the ability to organize and perform movement in a meaningful manner
Proprioception – the awareness of posture, movement, changes in equilibrium, and the knowledge of position, weight, and resistance of objects in relation to the body; sensed by muscles, tendons, and soft tissue
Range of Motion – a measure of the amount of movement/motion available at any given joint of the body
Reflex – an involuntary/automatic response to a stimulus
Symmetrical – referring to symmetry of the body, whose right and left halves are mirror images of each other
Tactile Defensiveness – a negative response or increased sensitivity to touch
Thoracic – pertaining to or affecting the chest or upper back
Tone (muscle) – the degree of tension normally present in the resting state of a muscle
Unilateral – affecting or occurring on only one side of the body
Vestibular Stimulation – stimulation of the vestibular apparatus (bones of the inner ear and canals) that provides information regarding acceleration and the position of the body in space
Weight shift – translation or movement of body weight from one side to another, forward or back