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Definitions of speech and language terms

There are several methods of testing a child’s Communication – anything that can be understood by another person that includes talking, gestures, facial expression, laughing, crying, use of pictures, etc.

  • Language – a systematic means for expressing and understanding thoughts.
  • Receptive Language – the ability to understand another person.
  • Expressive Language – the ability to get one’s ideas across to another person.
  • Cognition – the process or act of knowing. It involves perception, memory, conceptualization, and problem-solving.
  • Concept – an expression of a rule that organizes information in one’s experiences. Verbal concepts enable individuals to classify and retrieve information. For example, knowing the concept of size allows children to classify anything in their environment as big or little.
  • Auditory Discrimination – the ability to differentiate between and among various sounds and to hear likenesses and differences.
  • Auditory Memory – the ability to recognize and/or recall information presented orally.
  • Visual Discrimination – the ability to differentiate between and among various shapes, sizes, colours, numbers, and/or letters.
  • Visual Memory – the ability to retain and recall information that has been presented visually.

Additional Resources:

Visit the Toronto Preschool Speech and Language Services at

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