Components of Communication

The four main areas of communication listed below are essential for children to effectively express themselves and connect with others. True North aims to provide speech therapy that will allow children to grow and develop their speech, language, social & play skills.

If you have questions and want to talk about challenges your child may be experiencing, contact True North to receive a FREE 15 minute consultation.


Receptive Language Skills

Receptive language is how we understand language at it allows us to: 

  • Follow directions

    • Directions may be simple or contain multiple steps such as "Put your hat in the backpack and get your shoes on" 

  • Understand different sentence structures​​ 

    • During conversations and when reading books children are able to follow and ​participate. For example, "Show me both dogs in the story"

  • ​Participate in conversations and activities​

    • It is essential to understand a variety of concepts, such as "many" vs. "few"​ 

  • Answer questions

    • Questions range from simple yes/no questions to requiring critical thinking (e.g., "what do you do when you are cold?")

School-aged kids having a speech therpay session


Speech is our ability to appropriately produce speech sounds. For some children they may experience:

  • Speech sound production errors

    • Ex. Child man say "tup" for "cup"​

  • Motor planing difficulties 

    • Child may have issues coordinating the muscles in their mouth to consistently produce desired words 

  • Difficulty with volume or fluency

    • Child may speak too loudly or softly​

    • Child may have involuntary repetition of sounds or words

    • Child may present with silent pauses due to inability to produce sounds 

  • Challenges with phonological awareness (pre-literacy skills)

    • Ex. ​Alliteration - ​Which word starts with /s/; "star" or "park"?

Speech therapy for school kids

Play and Social Skills

Through play children learn about their world and requires essential social skills. Together strong play and social skills contribute to the foundation of a effective communicator. Play involves: 

  • Sharing an imagination

    • Ex. "Pretend I am giving you tea and it is really hot"

  • Turn taking and working memory

    • Being able to wait while peers have a turn and remembering what to do when it is their turn again ​

  • Being flexible

    • Managing and adapting to changes 

  • Negotiating and problem solving

    • Engaging in critical thinking​ and understanding other people have different thoughts

  • Attending to verbal and non-verbal messages

    • Ex. Understanding that a friend with an open mouth and big eyes is surprised​

Social and play therapy for kids

Expressive Language

Expressive language is how we use language and it allows us to:

  • Share our wants, needs and thoughts​

    • Ex."I want more grapes"​

  • Tell stories

    • To be effective story tellers we must provide appropriate information and they must be presented in a logical sequence

  • Participate in conversations

    • When talking we are expected to stay on topic  ​

    • When our communication partner asks a question we are required to provide an appreciate answer

  • Use appropriate grammar and vocabulary words​​

    • It is expected that as children get older their ability to use longer and more complex sentences increases. For example, "That my dog" vs. "That is my fluffy dog"

Speech language therapy with toddler and preschool kids