Young children typically make speech errors, for instance, they may say “wabbit” for rabbit. However, if the speech sound errors go beyond a certain age or deviate from typical development, we may worry about a speech articulation (making sounds) or phonological (sound patterns) disorder. An articulation disorder involves problems making sounds. Sounds can be substituted, left off, added or changed (e.g., saying “at” for “hat”). These errors may make it hard for your child to be understood. This affects their speech clarity or intelligibility. A phonological process disorder involves patterns of sound errors (e.g., saying "tup" for "cup" or "das" for "gas").
We will listen to your child and may use a formal articulation test to evaluate the sound errors. An oral motor examination is also done to determine whether the muscles of the mouth are working correctly. We may then recommend speech treatment if the child is not at their developmental level or they present with deviant oral patterns. Therapy generally involves traditional articulation/ phonological therapy and oral placement therapy employing tools such as TalkTools®. (For more information about TalkTools®, please click here). With early identification and intervention, we can prevent development of deviant speech habits and facilitate the development of good articulation towards clearer speech for your child.