Speech disorders affect how people pronounce sounds and their overall intelligibility.
For example, a child may have a good vocabulary and understanding of language, but when he or she talks, it is difficult to understand what he or she is saying.
Definition of Speech Disorders
Speech disorders are defined by difficulties with motor production (moving articulators), perception (recognizing correct sound production/sound patterns) and phonological representation of speech sounds.
Speech disorders occur when someone does not say specific sounds or sound patterns. He or she may substitute a sound for another sound, make a distortion of a sound, or not say a sound at all.
At times some errors are normal. A 3-year-old may not say /r/ since /r/ is a later developing sounds. However, a 3-year-old should be able to say /m/ and /b/.
To review which sounds a child should have mastered by a certain age, please refer to this chart: Articulation Chart.
Causes/Types of Disorders
- No known cause (most common)
- Childhood apraxia of speech (motor planning disorder)
- Dysarthria (muscle weakness)
- Phonological Processing Disorder (it is thought of as a motor-based disorder but it is a language disorder)
Underlying Medical Condition:
- Ear infections
- hearing loss
- cleft lip
Risk Factors For Developing Speech Disorders
- Complications during pregnancy or delivery
- Male (sorry boys!)
- History of frequent ear infections
- Thumb-sucking and/or extended pacifier use
- Fussy, intense personalities
- Family history of speech and/or language disorders
- Low parental education
- Lack of meaningful language exposure in the home
- High use of screens (TV, phones, tablets, computers)
Does my child need articulation therapy?
If you have any concerns, it is ALWAYS better to know what is going on so:
- Find a local speech-language pathologist and schedule a screening/evaluation
- If you live in the west Chicago suburbs, call US and SCHEDULE an appointment!
Speech therapy is HIGHLY recommended since speech sound disorders can put a child at risk for:
- Behavioral issues due to frustration of not being understood
- Social issues, feeling different or being teased
- Reading difficulties
- Writing difficulties
- Academic learning difficulties
Evaluations - What To Expect
- For parents - learn more about what exactly an evaluation for a speech disorder entails, click here.
- For Professionals - learn how to complete a speech sound evaluation in order to properly diagnosis your client/student and WHY.
Therapy - What To Expect
Articulation therapy will look different depending on the age of your child and their unique results of their speech therapy evaluation.
To learn the basics of speech therapy for speech disorders check out:
I will say this A LOT here but home practice is CRUCIAL if you want it to make any progress.
At Speech Therapy Talk Services, we have options for you today:
- On the Word Lists page, you will find tips on how to produce each sound and functional practice ideas.
- Join us! Become a member and you will have instant access to hundreds of pages of materials for each possible sound in English and Spanish.
- Check out our Articulation Materials and Guide eBook for a step-by-step guide for each sound, functional games, flashcards, and more!
Need an Updated Speech Norms Handout?
If you need a free printable articulation chart to track progress or to provide to parents as handouts/references, please just answer a few questions and the charts are all yours! You will also join our free newsletter.