Speech Sound Disorders
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A speech sound disorder is when mistakes are consistently made in the pronunciation of words. There are 2 major types of speech sound disorders: Articulation disorders and phonological disorders.
An Articulation Disorder is when someone makes mistakes in pronouncing individual sounds that make up words, at an age by which time these sounds should have been mastered. Articulation disorders can be found in both children and adults. An adult may have a persistent issue from childhood, or may develop the disorder due to a stroke or head injury.
It is quite normal for young children to make mistakes in their speech. These mistakes are only classified as an articulation disorder when they continue past the age at which most children have already mastered that specific sound.
|Sound||Expected Age of Mastery|
|/p,b,m,n,t,d,w,h/ & vowels||2-3 years|
|/s,z,l,v,sh,j,ch /||4-5 years|
It is also important to note that if someone speaks more than one language, they may speak English with an accent. Accents are a normal component of language, and as such are not considered to be a language disorder. An SLP can provide accent reduction services if the client wants to minimize their accent.
In many instances of speech disorders, it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause. A child may not have learned to produce certain sounds correctly or learned the “rules of speech sounds” on their own. Many such children do develop proper speech sounds over time. However, if they are not developing typically, an SLP can usually help the process `move along`.
Some speech sound errors may also result from structural/physical issues, such as:
A child speech pathologist can provide treatment to improve the articulation of specific sounds by: