What is articulation?
What is an articulation disorder?
Lots of little kids talk funny - what's typical and what's not?
What causes an articulation disorder?
My child is in elementary school and has trouble with a few sounds. Will he/she grow out of it?
Who do I talk to about this first?
What is a speech therapist?
Therapy sounds like drudgery - my child will hate it!
by Melanie Potock, M.A., CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist
You might know people who are really good at it, but talking is not easy, at least when it comes to learning the skill. Parents who notice a problem with their child's speech or language production should discuss it with their child's doctor.
Learning to talk and produce all the sounds in a language is a developmental process known as articulation. Sounds, syllables, and words are formed when the vocal chords, tongue, jaw, teeth, lips, and palate change the stream of air that is produced by the respiratory system. Articulation is complicated and often difficult to master.
Children have an articulation disorder when they produce the sounds, syllables, or words atypically when compared with other children of the same sex and age. Severity may range from errors occurring on only one sound, such as an "s" or an "r" sound, to multiple errors that affect the intelligibility or clarity of speech and, thus, a child's communication skills.
True, kids not only "say the darndest things," but they say them in such a cute way. What is not typical is when the child's speech pattern persists past a certain age or when it impacts intelligibility.
Most atypical sound production can be classified into one of four categories: omissions, substitutions, additions, or distortions. For example, an omission occurs when a child says "oos" for "juice," and an addition occurs when a child adds a sound to a word, such a "joosk" for "juice." Distortions occur when the child produces the sound in an unusual manner that sounds similar to the intended sound.
Atypical sound production may in fact be "typical" at a certain age for boys or girls. As children develop, they generally outgrow these speech patterns. Children should be producing all the sounds in the English language by age 8. However, it is not unusual for a child under age 3 to receive articulation therapy if his/her speech contains multiple errors that affect intelligibility and successful communication.
Some articulation disorders are caused by a physical disability, such as a cleft palate, hearing loss, or head injury. Some dental problems affect articulation.
Still, many children receive therapy even though they do not exhibit any physical disabilities. These children may simply have learned to produce speech sounds atypically, and the sound errors persisted past the age when their peers had learned the correct productions.
The most common errors that persist past 8 years of age include difficulty producing the "r," "l," and "s" sounds. However, speech therapy is often recommended for children younger than age 8 when any of these errors occur because the longer the incorrect speech pattern persists, the more difficult it is to correct. It is possible that a child will grow out of it, but it is always wise to discuss all articulation issues with a doctor.
Parents should contact their child's doctor to discuss the possibility of consulting with a certified speech language pathologist if they are concerned about their child's speech or language production. Early intervention is considered the "best practice," and it is especially important when the child is unintelligible to the unfamiliar listener or when the child appears frustrated by his/her difficulty in being understood.
A speech language pathologist (commonly know as a speech therapist) holds a master's degree or doctorate, and is trained to evaluate and treat articulation disorders, as well as speech, language, and learning issues. Some speech language therapists have additional training in feeding, augmentative communication, and other highly specialized areas. Some therapists work strictly with adults, while other therapists work with children. It is important to ask the therapist if he/she has experience with articulation disorders in children. Parents should always be sure that the therapist is certified by the American Speech-Language Hearing Association and is licensed by their state.
The speech pathologist will assess the child's ability to say all the sounds in the English language individually, in single words, and/or in conversational speech. The therapist will determine which sound productions are typical for the child's age and which sound productions are atypical.
Surprisingly to many parents, speech therapy does not have to be a dreaded task. In fact, it does not feel like "therapy" to many children. Speech pathologists incorporate games, movement, computers, crafts, and even cooking into the therapy sessions to facilitate correct speech production.
Melanie Potock is a certified speech language pathologist in private practice in Colorado. In addition to helping young children develop speech and language skills, she is a national speaker on the topic of "feeding" and picky eaters. She is the author of Happy Mealtimes with Happy Kids and the executive producer of the acclaimed children's album, Dancing in the Kitchen: Songs that Celebrate the Joy of Food! Mel is a regular contributor to national magazines and health related websites, including Pediatric Web and The Tender Foodie. She can be contacted at www.mymunchbug.com.
Copyright 2012 Melanie Potock, M.A., CCC-SLP, All Rights Reserved
The information contained in these topics is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or discontinuing an existing treatment. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in these topics is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment.
By using this website, you accept the information provided herein "AS IS." Neither RemedyConnect nor the providers of the information contained herein will have any liability to you arising out of your use of the information contained herein or make any express or implied warranty regarding the accuracy, content, completeness, reliability, or efficacy of the information contained within this website.
RemedyConnect, Inc. has created this privacy statement in order to demonstrate our firm commitment to your privacy. The following discloses our information gathering and dissemination practices for this website: http://www.remedyconnect.com.
We do not acquire any more information about website visitors than is required by law or is otherwise necessary to provide a high level of service efficiently and securely. Our site's registration form requires users to give us contact information (e.g., their name and e-mail address) and demographic information (e.g., children's birth months, but not birth dates). We use customer contact information from the registration form to (1) send the user pertinent medical and parenting information and (2) allow your local health provider lists of who is registering on that provider's site as a parent/guardian, staff member, doctor, or visitor. Users may opt-out of receiving future mailings; see the choice/opt-out section below.
We use your IP address to help diagnose problems with our server and to administer our Website. Your IP address is used to help identify you and to gather broad demographic information.
Demographic and profile data is also collected at our site. We may use this data to tailor the visitor's experience at our site, showing them content that we think they might be interested in, and displaying the content according to their preferences.
Our site may use order forms to allow users to request information, products, and services.
We will respect your doctor's right to privacy. A doctor typically does not give his/her e-mail address to the parents/guardians of patients. We will not provide the e-mail addresses of doctor(s) in the local practice to users of their site without the doctor(s)' permission. Their site is restricted to use by whomever they wish, and they may deny access to their site to one or more prior users. In unusual cases, doctors may change their private site's access code and arrange for us to e-mail the new access code to approved users.
This site contains links to other sites. RemedyConnect.com is not responsible for the privacy practices or the content of such Websites. See Disclaimers.
We will provide individually-identifiable information about website users to third parties only if we are compelled to do so by order of a duly-empowered governmental authority, we have the express permission of the visitor, or it is necessary to process transactions and provide you services from our affiliates: Live Agent Answering Service, Digital Answering Service, Medical Answering Service and Pediatric Answering Service.
This site may make chat rooms, forums, message boards, and/or news groups available to its users. Please remember that any information that is disclosed in these areas becomes public information and you should exercise caution when deciding to disclose your personal information.
This site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under our control. For further information regarding our security, please contact us at email@example.com. If you have any concerns regarding the security of information, please do not provide any information to RemedyConnect, Inc. until you are comfortable with our security measures.
You may correct or update your User Registration information at any time, by visiting the User Registration section and providing your personal password that you set at registration. If need be, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our site provides users the opportunity to opt-out of receiving e-mail communications from our partners or us, except communications approved by your doctor's practice office. To so opt-out, please email us at email@example.com. To be removed as a user, please email us at the same address. If need be, you may mail requests to us at RemedyConnect, Inc., 9200 E. Mineral Avenue, Suite 100, Centennial, CO 80112. Our telephone number is 303-793-0703.
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this Website, you can contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at our address above.