Speech and Language Therapy for Articulation and Phonological Disorders
Articulation and Phonological Disorders
A child who is difficult to understand, may have an articulation disorder. When speaking the child may omit sounds within words, add sounds that are not part of words, substitute and/or distort sounds.
As children acquire speech and language, articulation is never perfect. Speech sounds gain precision over time. A speech-language pathologist will determine if a child has a disorder based on his or her age in comparison to the type of speech errors the child produces. Developmental guidelines are utilized to assess the child. Here are some examples of articulation disorders:
- An 8 year old child produces "s" as "th"
- A four year old child produces "s" in a way that sounds distorted
- A 10 year old produces "r" as "w"
Phonological disorders involve patterns of speech errors that are rule governed. For example, when a child consistently drops the last consonant of words - that is a pattern, or rule. This impedes intelligibilty. Again, all children employ these kinds of rules (final consonant deletion, initial consonant deletion, syllable reduction, etc...) as they are learning to speak. They reduce the adult model of speech to easier productions. However, as they grow older these simplifications should drop away and no longer be evident. When they continue past age three, the child may have a phonological disorder. A speech-language pathologist can assess if a child has a problem that requires treatment.