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Phonological Processing Disorders

Children who have phonological processing disorders have not learned the rules for how sounds fit together to make words, and use certain processes to simplify words. Often, their parents are the only ones who can understand them, and even they have difficulties. These articulation problems can start at a very young age and may get worse if not addressed.

Signs of a phonological processing disorder

  • One of the most common is called cluster reduction. Children who use this process will take a sound blend (like [bl] [sp] or [tr]) and omit one of the sounds: “blue” becomes “boo,” “spoon” becomes “poon,” and “tree” becomes “ti.”
  • Another common process is called “velar fronting.” Children who use this process substitute sounds produced in the front of the mouth (t,d,n) for sounds in the back of the throat (k,g). In this instance, “duck” becomes “guk,” “car” becomes “tar,” “go” becomes “do,” and “can” becomes “tan.”

Phonological Assessment & Therapy

Children with articulation and phonological disorders are at a very high risk for later reading and learning disabilities. They should be treated with intensive speech therapy as soon as they are diagnosed (as early as age 3) by a certified speech-language pathologist, such as the therapists at Princeton Speech-Language & Learning Center. The developmental articulation disorder treatment appropriate for your child will be determined once we have completed a thorough evaluation.

We provide a comprehensive evaluation of overall speech sound development and skills. Standardized tests are often used to assess sound. An oral-motor examination to look at the structure, movement, and strength of the lips, tongue, cheeks and jaw for speech is completed. Speech therapy may be recommended, based on the results of the evaluation.

Therapy for phonological processing disorders involves making the child more aware of the correct sound patterns and drilling the new patterns. Awareness is frequently achieved through what is referred to as “auditory bombardment;” using an amplifier and headphones, the therapist will repeatedly say words using the correct patterns.

Families are provided with strategies, information, assistance and home exercise programs to carryover treatment techniques at home for increased success. Parent caregiver involvement is an integral part of the therapeutic process.

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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