Welcome to the World of Communication!

Walworth Speech and Language Program

Hi, I am Laurie Clinkingbeard, shortened to Mrs. C., here in the speech room at Walworth School. I am full time here at Walworth Elementary & Middle School.

Communication is engaging and interactive. We build our skills through literature, play, puppet play, games, authentic "real life" activities, arts & crafts, technology (including i-pads and videos that bring experiences of life from anywhere in the world,) and sharing stories of our own life experiences. In the World of Communication we have fun improving two general areas of communicative development; Speech & Language.


The sounds we produce in words

When children begin to talk we are excited that they are attempting to communicate orally. The sounds they express are usually a form of imitation from what they hear in their environment. Sometimes we can identify and understand their words with little trouble and sometimes their words are difficult to understand. There is a general pattern of speech development where speech sounds are expected to be substituted by other speech sounds, and more complex words will be altered to a simpler form. This is typical development. However, there are some children who are difficult to understand because their speech sounds aren't close to what we expect. Often these children do not detect that others are not understanding them, and they become quite frustrated. If this happens it is likely, time for an assessment of their speech phonological skills. Areas to assess for speech sound development are:

Speech Articulation which assesses what is happening to the speech sounds in the words. For example, we ask...are the sounds:

Omitted, substituted, or distorted.

Speech Phonology looks at the patterns of speech sound changes, to groups of sounds or speech sounds with specific characteristics. During typical development we expect to see these systematic changes to groups of sounds, however, these changes may continue too long, and/or these changes may be atypical in nature. This can greatly affect speech intelligibility (what the listener understands.)

Phonological/Phonemic Awareness assesses the ability to process speech sound differences, and word/sound awareness for segmenting and blending speech sounds.


The words we use in phrases, sentences and stories.

When children begin to communicate we interpret what they want and need from their sounds, gestures and attempts at words. As children grow we expect them to communicate with more words, longer sentences and more complex sentences. Sometimes this plan of development seems altered from what we expect and hear other children of similar ages communicating. The areas that we look at assessing in a child's language development are:

Receptive Language (what he/she understands)

Expressive Language (what he/she expresses)

for the following linguistic units:

Vocabulary (number of words expressed)

Semantic Concepts (types of words, i.e., words that mean size, shape, quantity, location.)

Syntax (length of sentences with clauses and conjunctions, i.e., "The girl, with the red hair, is walking her dog.)

Morphology (smallest meaningful units of words change to change meaning, i.e., verb tenses [jumps, jumping, jumped].)

Pragmatics (social language usage, i.e., greetings, turn-taking, topic maintenance.)

Linguistic comprehension (understanding various levels of language, such as, literal/concrete, inferred meanings, critiques and judgments.)

What do you do if you suspect a speech and/or language problem?

Children may exhibit speech sound difficulties and language delays independent of one another or at the same time. Early detection of speech and language delays is important to a child's academic development and successful functioning in his/her everyday living environment. Often these spoken language delays impact learning of written language skills, specifically reading and writing, including pre-reading skills. Speech sound difficulties may impact a child's ability to interact and communicate with teachers, other students, family, friends and even parents. The DPI of WI recognizes that speech and language difficulties that impact learning in the classroom or interfere with appropriate daily functioning, are in need of intervention. If you suspect your child of having speech and/or language difficulties that impact his/her ability to interact and function appropriately in his/her environment please look into a possible evaluation. We want all of our children to thrive and achieve communication competence. Feel free to call me at the Walworth school if you have any questions, extension 1235.

Laurie Clinkingbeard M.S., CCC-SLP

Speech Language Pathologist