Articulation Therapy (Phonology)Houston, TX
Children with articulation and phonological disorders have trouble producing certain sounds or groups of sounds. These issues may continue after the standard period of speech development or negatively impact a child's ability to understand speech. Fortunately, articulation therapy can help.
Articulation therapy is available at Small Talk Therapy Services in Houston. We work closely with all our clients to give them the individualized care they deserve. Call us today at (832) 900-1198 to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.
Understanding Speech Sound Disorders
Speech sound disorders are any disorders that negatively impact a person’s perception, motor production, and phonological processes of speech sounds and segments. These disorders can either be organic or functional. Organic speech sound disorders stem from motor/neurological, structural, or sensory/perceptual causes. In comparison, functional speech sound disorders have no known causes. Articulation and phonological disorders are examples of functional speech sound disorders.
While articulation disorders affect the production of speech sounds, phonological disorders have to do more with rule-based errors. In other words, children with articulation disorders may distort certain speech sounds or substitute them with different sounds. In contrast, children with phonological disorders may consistently do things like final consonant deletion. It can be challenging to make a clear distinction between articulation and phonological disorders, especially as articulation and phonology have a lot of overlap. Thus, it is not uncommon for the two to be grouped together.
Signs of Articulation Disorders
As the name might suggest, children with articulation disorder have trouble articulating words correctly. Not all children with this symptom have an articulation disorder. On the contrary, it is normal for children to have articulation issues while developing language skills. However, children without articulation disorders eventually grow out of these issues. Common signs of articulation issues are:
- Substitution, or switching out one sound for another
- Syllable structure changes, or changing or leaving a syllable out of a word
- Assimilation, or changing a sound in a word to one similar to another sound in the same word
Children with an articulation disorder may also have issues with slurring or mumbling, although these symptoms are not necessarily manifestations of articulation disorder. It may be hard for them to pronounce words starting with two consonants. Children who still have articulation issues past the age of five may benefit from being evaluated by a professional.
Signs of Phonological Disorders
The symptoms of phonological disorders, like the symptoms of articulation disorders, are typical for all children to display while developing language skills. However, children with phonological disorders lag significantly behind their peers when it comes to producing some or all of the speech sounds necessary in forming a word.
Certain missed milestones can act as red flags. For instance, by the time a child reaches three years old, at least half of what they say should be understandable to even a stranger. By four or five, they should be able to produce most sounds correctly, with few exceptions (such as l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th). These "harder" sounds may not be perfected until the child is seven or eight years old.
Other symptoms include incorrect speech rules or patterns, such as dropping the first or last sound of each word. Children with phonological disorders may replace certain sounds for others or continue using incorrect speech patterns long after their peers have moved on from such mistakes. They may also leave sounds out of words, despite being able to pronounce the same sounds in other words or syllables.
Diagnosing and Treating Articulation and Phonological Disorders
Both articulation and phonological disorders make it difficult for other people to understand the child affected. This can be distressing for everyone involved. If you suspect your child has a speech sound disorder, seek the help of a qualified speech therapist immediately. A typical screening may include an examination of:
- Individual speech sounds, both in single words and connected speech.
- Oral motor functioning, for strength and range of motion of the oral musculature.
- Orofacial area, for facial asymmetry and any possible structural causes.
- Language comprehension and production.
Once a diagnosis has been made, our team will work closely to create a customized treatment plan for your child's unique needs and abilities. Depending on the child's specific case, both articulation and phonological/language-based approaches may be used simultaneously or at separate points during the treatment process.
Call Us Today
Your child deserves to be heard to the best of their ability. We at Small Talk Therapy Services may be able to help. Call us today at (832) 900-1198 to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are articulation and phonological/language-based approaches used together?
Speech therapists often use both approaches together because it is often difficult to differentiate between articulation and phonological disorders. Articulation approaches help children with sound deviation, while phonological/language-based approaches help children with groups of sounds with similar error patterns.
Do articulation and phonological disorders ever go away on their own?
Some children grow out of their speech sound disorders. However, others have symptoms that persist throughout adulthood. Early intervention is key to symptom management. Most children who receive proper treatment will go on to develop proper speech.
Are girls or boys more likely to have articulation and phonological issues?
All children develop at different speeds, but girls tend to develop speech faster than boys. As a result, articulation and phonological issues may seem more common in boys than in girls.
Can I help prevent articulation and phonological disorders in my child?
As of yet, there are no clear causes of articulation and phonological disorders. Accordingly, there are no apparent ways of prevention. However, there are many things you can do to encourage language development in your child. Regular pediatrician visits can help alert you to any missed milestones.
How can I help my child manage their articulation or phonological disorder?
Be aware of the signs. Take them to a speech therapist as soon as you suspect they may have articulation or phonological issues going beyond the typical. These disorders start early, and treatment is more effective the earlier you start. At home, take the time to read to your child and practice sound building skills together.
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