What are some signs of an articulation disorder?
An articulation disorder involves problems with making sounds. The sounds may be substituted, left off, added or even changed. When an individual has any of these errors it may make it difficult for people to understand what you are trying to say.
Many young children make speech errors. For instance, they replace the “r” sound with the “w” sound (e.g., “wabbit” for “rabbit”) or they may even leave sounds out of words, such as “nana” for “banana.” This is typical but an articulation disorder may be present if these errors continue past the expected age.
How are speech sound disorders diagnosed?
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) is the professional that evaluates children or adults with speech and language difficulties. The Speech therapist will listen to the individual speak or may even use special testing to determine if a speech disorder is present. The SLP may perform an oral mechanism examination to determine if the muscles of the mouth are working properly. If the sound is not appropriate for the age of the child then the SLP may recommend speech therapy to treat the disorder. For children, the SLP often also evaluates their language development to determine overall communication functioning.
What treatments are available for people with speech sound disorders?
The speech therapist provide treatment to improve articulation of the individual sounds or to reduce the errors in the production of sound patterns. Articulation disorder treatment may involve demonstrating how to produce the sound correctly, learning to recognize which sounds are correct and incorrect, and practicing sounds in different words. Phonological process treatment may involve teaching the rules of speech to individuals to help them say words correctly.