What is an Articulation Disorder?

An articulation disorder is where a child doesn’t say sounds correctly. They typically either substitute, add, omit, or distort the sound of letters in a word (i.e. “w” for “r”, as in “wabbit” for “rabbit”, “poon” for “spoon”, or “tate” for “cake”). These types of error patterns can result in frustration for the speaker as well as the listener.

Warning signs to look for:

  • Difficulty being understood by family, extended family, friends, teachers, etc.
  • Doesn’t speak as clearly as other children his/her age
  • Substitutes or leaves out one sound for another
  • Family history of speech difficulties (siblings, parents, cousins)
  • Child being teased by others
  • Parent is concerned that child may be self-conscious and/or less outgoing because of speech difficulty
  • Parent has tried to help with their child’s speech at home but has not been successful
  • Parent has been told by school system that their child’s speech difficulty does not impact academics and doesn’t qualify for speech therapy at school

How can articulation problems be helped?

Therapy helps the child learn to correct the errors using a systematic approach, progressing from the sounds by themselves/syllables, then into words, sentences, structured activities, and finally in conversation in the therapy setting and elsewhere. Children typically make the most progress in individual sessions. Specific strategies and the pace of therapy may differ, depending on the child’s needs. Therapy also uses a variety of games, pictures, and activities to make the sessions fun as well as productive. Using a systematic approach fosters normal articulation skills which last a lifetime.