Multisyllable Words & Speech Therapy

Multisyllable words are essential for speech therapy since they can be quite challenging for children with motor speech, articulation, and phonological disorders. 

In this post, I will dive into why multisyllabic words may be difficult and what we should do about it!

What are multisyllable words? 

Just to make sure we are all on the same page...multisyllable words are words that have more than one syllable, from simple two-syllable words to more complex ones.

Multisyllable Words & Apraxia

Anyone with apraxia most likely will have trouble with multisyllable words for the following reasons:

  • Motor planning difficulties: Apraxia is a motor speech disorder characterized by difficulties in planning and coordinating the movements necessary for speech. The longer the words the more motor planning is necessary. So, due to the motor plannings demands, children with apraxia most likely will struggle with multisyllabic words. Makes sense!
  • Challenges in Prosody: Prosody (stress and intonation patterns within a word) can be difficult for a child with apraxia. This may be especially true for multisyllable words since the prosody demands increase as the length of words increase

Multisyllable Words & Phonetic/Phonemic Speech Sound Disorders

Children with phonological disorders (phonemic) and articulation disorders (phonetic) may also struggle with multisyllable words. 

*To review different types of speech sound disorders, click here.

The reasons are a bit different than apraxia. Children with phonemic and phonetic disorders may have trouble consistently producing their target sound/phonological pattern when the length and/or complexity of a word increases.

For example:

  • A child who is backing may be able to say /d/ with relative ease in words such as "day" or "add." 
  • However, when challenged with a multisyllabic word such as "honeydew", accuracy may decrease due to the complexity and length of the word.

Multisyllable Words & Speech Therapy Materials

When reviewing the role multisyllabic words play in speech development and speech therapy, I realized I didn't have very many materials to systematically target this area of need.

So, I am correcting that! I am creating drill materials, games, and language based materials needed for generalization of progress!

Stay tuned for those by subscribing below and/or checking your email in a few weeks!


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