Supporting healthy language development

Languages (both verbal and non-verbal) are the way people communicate with one another. From a speech-language therapy perspective, the building blocks of language include vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure – how words are put together. The two main aspects of language are receptive (understanding what other people say) and expressive (using your own words to speak). And, at Vocalsaints, it's our honour to support your family's expressive and receptive language development.

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Delays or Disorders with Receptive Language

Receptive language difficulties mean an individual struggles understanding language; they may not understand what certain words mean or how they go together. They may have difficulty following directions or answering questions appropriately. Generally, problems with understanding language begin before the age of three years. Early identification is important to rule out underlying issues or a more significant problem.

Children need to understand spoken language before they can use language to express themselves. If your child began speaking later than expected, it is important that their receptive language is assessed to confirm or identify any difficulties in this area and begin supporting as necessary.

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Expressive Language Delays/Disorders

This means an individual has difficulty expressing one’s desires, thoughts, and feelings verbally. Children start by learning simple words then stringing these with other words to make a sentence. Once three words are together, grammar begins to develop. In English, grammatical markers are important to convey more information. For example “Me want cracker” versus “Can I please have crackers?”

Delays or difficulties with expressive language can lead to frustration for the speaker and the listener, as well as bad physical behaviour in young children – how else can they get their message across, or social isolation? In older children, poor expressive language means difficulty at school learning to write sentences - you can only write down what you can say - and writing in-depth interesting stories. Expressive language difficulties are not just experienced by children; individuals who have experienced a head injury or a stroke can struggle with finding the words they want to say. Click here for further information about this topic.

What people say about us

Mother of a 2 year old daughter – parental coaching “Sarah took the time to get to know us as a family and understand how to best meet the needs of our daughter. Her initial focus was teaching us as parents the foundations of communication and how to model this to our daughter. This knowledge has been the backbone of all that we have done moving forward. We are so grateful to have this information under our belt!”

-- Mother of a 2 year old daughter
Mother of an 8 year old girl "We are kept well informed of what we can build on at each stage of the journey, but there is also no pressure or guilt when life is busy.

We found the zoom meetings really beneficial when travel hasn't been easy to arrange and now are continuing via distance thanks to how well that has worked.  Many thanks to Vocalsaints and Ashleigh for the amazing work you do!"

-- Mother of an 8 year old girl
Adult after a head injury "Having you in the mix has made big improvements. Without your help I wouldn't be where I am. You gave me guidance. I've enjoyed the time you've spent with me."

-- Adult after a head injury
Mother of a 4 year old with ASD "Knowing how to help him has alleviated my anxiety."

-- Mother of a 4 year old with ASD
Mother of a 4 year old boy (language delay) "One of the side benefits of the sessions is that [our son]’s confidence in social situations has grown exponentially. He’s keen to interact with people more, be more open about his wants and connect with people."

-- Mother of a 4 year old boy
Mother of a 3 year old boy "Not ignoring our concerns with his speech, seeking help and intervening early has been the best thing we have done for our son. We are ever so grateful to Sarah and Vocalsaints for just being such an incredible help and easy to access service."

-- Mother of a 3 year old boy
Mother of a 4 year old boy with ASD "We were informed that the waiting list for public assessment is awfully long and I was quite saddened that by the time our son is assessed and receives help with his speech and social communication, we would have wasted precious time. It was at this time, I contacted Vocalsaints and really appreciated how quickly we were able have J reviewed by Sarah, while awaiting formal diagnosis."

-- Mother of a 4 year old boy
Mother of an 8 year old girl "Vocalsaints has provided a valuable, professional and flexible service to our daughter for over a year. We have especially enjoyed the relationship Ashleigh has built with her through fun games, variety, patience and acknowledging her individual needs. Her speech, vocabulary and processing have all improved dramatically, which has been furthered through extra work we can do in our own time at home."

-- Mother of an 8 year old girl
Mother of a 3 year old boy “You have given me so many more tools to use to help my child grow.”

-- Mother of a 3 year old boy
Mother of a 4 year old boy "I just want to say THANK YOU - My son is talking a lot more and copying what I say 🙂🙂🙂"

-- Mother of a 4 year old boy
Mother of a 7-year-old boy "Ashleigh has a wonderful way of connecting with our son, N. She is able to engage with him, and makes the sessions seem more fun. A good balance of practical work and some game playing. He usually tries really hard during the sessions, and pays attention to what she is trying to teach him."

-- Mother of a 7-year-old boy