• Frequently Asked Questions and Answers


    What is articulation?

    Articulation is the process by which sounds, syllables, and words are formed when your tongue, jaw, teeth, lips, and palate alter the air stream coming from the vocal folds.


    What is an articulation disorder?

    A person has an articulation problem when he or she produces sounds, syllables, or words incorrectly past a certain age so that listeners do not understand what is being said or pay more attention to how the words sound than to what they mean.


    What are some types of speech sound errors?

    Most errors fall into one of three categories-omissions, substitutions, or distortions. An example of an omission is "at" for "hat" or "oo" for "shoe." An example of a substitution is the use of "w" for "r" which makes "rabbit" sound like "wabbit," or the substitution of "th" for "s" so that "sun" is pronounced "thun." When the sound is said inaccurately, but sounds something like the intended sound, it is called a distortion.


    What is a phonological process disorder?

    Phonological process disorder occurs when a child uses a regular pattern of certain speech substitutions, omissions, or additions. The mistakes may be common in young children learning new speech sounds, but when they persist past a certain age, it may be a disorder. These patterns often effect more than one speech sound and are related to the lingusitic aspects of speech production as opposed to the motor production (i.e. articulation disorders). 


    What are some types of phonologial processes? 

    Saying only one syllable in a word (example: "bay" instead of "baby"), simplifying a word by repeating two syllables (example: "baba" instead of "bottle"), leaving out a consonant sound (example: "at" or "ba" instead of "bat"), or changing certain consonant sounds (example: "tat" instead of "cat")


    What causes an articulation problem?

    Often, there is no known cause for a speech sound disorder. But some speech sound errors may be caused by: injury to the brain, intellectual or developmental disability; problems with hearing or hearing loss, such as a history of ear infections; physical abnormalities that affect speech, including cleft palate or cleft lip; disorders affecting the nerves involved in speech.


     Can ear/hearing problems in infancy/early childhood have an effect on late sound development?

    Children learn their speech sounds by listening to the speech around them. This learing begins very early in life. If children have frequent ear problems during this important listening period, they may fail to learn some speech sounds.


    Will a child outgrow a functional articulation problem?

    A child's overall speech pattern will usually become more understandable as he or she matures, but some children will need direct training to eliminate all articulation errors. The exact speech pattern of the individual child will determine the answer to this question.


    Do children learn all speech sounds at once?

    Sounds are learned in an orderly and developmental sequence. Some sounds, such as "p," "m," and "b," are learned as early as 3 years of age. Other sounds, like "s," "r," and "l," often are not completely mastered until first or second grade. 
    At what age should a child be producing all sounds correctly? Children should make all the sounds of English by 8 years of age. Many children learn these sounds much earlier.


    How can I help my child pronounce words correctly?

    By setting a good example. Don't interrupt or constantly correct your child. Don't let anyone tease or mock {including friends or relatives.} Instead, present a good model. Use the misarticulated word correctly with emphasis. If the child says, "That's a big wabbit," you say "Yes, that is a big rabbit. A big white rabbit. Would you like to have a rabbit?"


    Sources https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=speech-sound-disorders-in-children-160-236