Articulation disorders can affect your child’s speech in a number of different ways.
If your child is well past the age of four and still struggling with their speech, it’s possible they have an articulation disorder.
We don’t always know what causes them, but speech therapy for children with speech sound disorders – another name for articulation disorders – can help your child overcome them.
If, after you read this article, you suspect your child has an articulation disorder, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with us here at Voz Speech Therapy sooner than later.
This is because early intervention speech therapy has been shown to deliver better results than the “wait and see” approach.
Let’s take a closer look at articulation disorders – their symptoms, causes, and how a Washington DC speech therapist can help.
What Is An Articulation Disorder?
An articulation disorder, sometimes called a speech sound disorder, is an umbrella term that can refer to any type of difficulty with making speech sounds.
This includes difficulties with perception, motor production, and phonological representation of speech sounds.
What Causes Articulation Disorders?
Now, there are two main causes of articulation disorders depending on the type.
The first is classified as an organic articulation disorder, which is triggered by underlying motor, neurological, or structural causes.
One example of this type is if your child has speech challenges because their brain has trouble sending the messages of when and how to move to their speech muscles.
This is called childhood apraxia of speech and would be considered an organic articulation disorder.
Speech disorders due to cleft lip or cleft palate are also considered organic speech sound disorders.
The second type is called a functional articulation disorder, for which there are currently no known causes.
Articulation Disorder Symptoms
There are a wide variety of symptoms that your child may exhibit if they have an articulation disorder.
They can substitute certain sounds for another, add unnecessary sounds, or skip certain sounds entirely while speaking.
Depending on the age of your child, mistakes like this are an important part of learning how to speak, so it’s not necessarily cause for concern.
But, if they persist well past the age of four, they might have an articulation disorder.
How Can A Speech Therapist Help With Articulation Disorders?
If you suspect that your child might have an articulation disorder, it’s a good idea to book an appointment with us here at Voz Speech Therapy for a pediatric speech disorder evaluation.
Your speech therapist will listen to how your child speaks and pay special attention to their lip, jaw, and tongue movements.
They might also test your child’s language abilities because language disorders often accompany articulation disorders.
Because certain articulation disorders, like childhood apraxia of speech, are more common in children with autism spectrum disorder, speech therapists may screen for that as well.
Now, once your speech therapist confirms that your child has an articulation disorder, there are a number of approaches they can take to improve your child’s speech.
Keep reading to discover just how these approaches work to help your child improve.
1. Phonological Contrast
A phonological contract is an approach often used to work with phonological error patterns.
An example of a phonological error is if your child says, “they have a smole” instead of “they have a smile”.
The goal with this approach is to focus on improving the phonemic contrasts in your child’s speech by emphasizing the difference between sounds that is required to differentiate words.
Often, your speech therapist will do this by using contrasting word pairs instead of targeting individual sounds.
2. Contextual Utilization
Contextual utilization recognizes that sounds of speech are produced in a context of connected speech.
Context itself can facilitate the correct production of a particular sound.
This approach is excellent for children who are inconsistent in their speech and need help to consistently produce a sound in multiple contexts.
3. Core Vocabulary Approach
The core vocabulary approach is another one that is geared towards children with inconsistent speech.
It focuses on whole words and each week a small number of words are selected for treatment.
Again, the goal is to practice these words until your child can confidently say them consistently and correctly.
4. Cycles Approach
The cycles approach is specially designed for children who are very difficult to understand because of their phonological errors.
They might have many omissions, substitutions, and a restricted use of their consonants.
Using cycles that range from five to sixteen weeks in length, the goal is to teach your child gradual phonological development by targeting particular speech patterns.
One cycle focuses on one speech pattern, then the following cycle targets a different speech pattern.
This continues until the first cycle is repeated.
Cycles are used to stimulate a particular sound or pattern, not demand full proficiency with it.
The ultimate goal with this approach is a full integration of each sound or pattern in your child’s everyday speech.
5. Complexity Approach
A complexity approach uses complex linguistic stimulus to help integrate untreated but related speech sounds.
Your speech therapist will determine what types of complexities to focus on depending on the needs of your child and their speech patterns.
6. Other Treatment Options
Finally, there are still many other approaches that your speech therapist can use to work with your child.
Some examples include:
- Speech sound perception training
- Distinctive feature therapy
- Metaphon therapy
- Nonspeech oral motor therapy
- Naturalistic speech intelligibility intervention
Those might all sound very complex, but don’t worry.
Based on their evaluation, your speech therapist will determine the best course of treatment for your child.
They might use a single approach, or a blend of approaches customized to meet the needs of your child.
Book Your Appointment With Voz Speech Therapy Today
There’s a wide variety of strategies your speech therapist can use to help your child develop their articulation.
If your child has an articulation disorder, we can help.
Book an appointment with Voz Speech Therapy today.
1331 H St NW Ste 200,
Washington, DC 20005
Voz Speech Therapy is a pediatric bilingual speech therapy clinic in Washington, DC that provides individualized services based on the specific needs of your or your child. Therapy sessions are provided in English or Spanish, depending on your child’s native language. Voz Speech Therapy es una clínica pediátrica bilingüe de terapia del habla en Washington, DC que brinda servicios individualizados según las necesidades específicas de usted o su hijo. Las sesiones de terapia se brindan en inglés o español, según el idioma nativo de su hijo.