Vocabulary and semantic skills


Difficulties with vocabulary and semantic skills can impact a child’s expressive language abilities and can cause:

  • Difficulty recalling the names of words.
  • Difficulty finding the correct words to use.
  • Using the wrong words in utterance.
  • Having fewer words than children of similar age.
  • Confusing the meaning of words.
  • Difficulty explaining the meaning or definitions of words.
  • May use non-specific vocabulary like it, stuff or things.
  • May omit words in a sentence.
  • May struggle to be informative.
  • Children may struggle to express a specific idea may talk in circles.

A child who has difficulties recalling or accessing a word when they are trying to express their thoughts can get frustrated, as they cannot express their thoughts fully. Frustration can develop if people assume the wrong meaning of what they are trying to say or assume the words they are trying to say. Difficulties with vocabulary and semantics can also impact a child’s academic and social development.

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Our speech and language therapists help children who struggle with vocabulary or semantic skills by providing therapy that increases children’s ability to learn new words, understand the meaning of words, and use them appropriately. Our speech and language therapists work with parents and schools to develop a programme that can be delivered at home, school or the clinic.


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