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Articulation (Speech) Disorder

An articulation disorder involves mispronouncing speech sounds by omitting, distorting, substituting, or adding sounds that can make speech difficult to understand. Articulation refers to the manner in which a child produces a sound and the placement of the tongue, lips, and teeth. Children may have a couple of sounds in error, but will consistently make these errors on the same sounds in words.

Signs of an articulation disorder

  • A lisp (producing [th] instead of [s], like “thing” instead of “sing” or “yeth” instead of “yes.”)
  • Substituting [w] for [l] or [r], or other similar errors, such as substituting [f] for [th] (“fum” for “thumb”), [l] for [y] (“lelo” for ‘yellow.”)

Learning to speak clearly

A child with articulation errors should always be evaluated when they are young (3 or 4), by a certified speech-language pathologist, such as the specialists at Princeton Speech-Language & Learning Center.

Many articulation errors are developmental in nature. Some sounds are later developing, and many children will produce these sounds incorrectly until they mature. (One example is the [th] sound, as in “thumb”. This is one of the latest sounds to develop, between the ages of 6 an 8). If the therapist feels that therapy is not appropriate at the time of the evaluation, the child will be monitored on a regular basis until he or she is ready for therapy.
Articulation therapy consists of drill exercises and various cues to help the child correct his or her sound productions. These cues may be verbal (i.e. tell the child where to place his or her tongue) or visual (have the child look at the therapist’s mouth or in the mirror) or tactile (have the child slide her finger down her arm when making the [s] sound.) The PROMPT tactile-kinesthetic cueing system may also be used to promote correct sound production. Frequent practice is essential.

If you have concerns about your child’s development, please contact us online, send us an email or call us at (609) 924-7080 to set up a consultation in our office. When appropriate, we will conduct an individualized evaluation of your child to determine the most appropriate therapy and recommendations.

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