People with articulation disorders incorrectly articulate, or pronounce, the distinct sounds within certain words. This misarticulation takes the form of distorting, adding, or leaving off some of the sounds, for example, pronouncing an “s” as if it were a “the” sound.
Some of the following conditions can cause articulation disorders:
Hearing loss—children with frequent ear infections are at higher risk
Developmental disorders (e.g.. autism)
Neurological disorders (e.g., cerebral palsy)
Genetic syndromes (e.g., Down syndrome)
Treatment for articulation disorders is provided by a speech-language pathologist (SLP).
Children might be diagnosed with an articulation disorder if they have trouble with certain speech sounds past the point of normal development. This type of disorder could be due to a developmental delay, hearing impairment, autism, birth defect or brain injury, among other possible causes.
Adults might have articulation problems due to medical conditions such as a stroke or head injury, or they could have unresolved speech problems from childhood. Identification of an articulation disorder requires an articulation test, in which the speech pathologist records the person’s speech and documents sound errors. A physical examination of the face and mouth is also done to assess the function of speech-related muscles.
Historically, the treatment of speech sound errors involved teaching the motor skills needed for the articulation of speech sounds. Since the 1970s, speech sound disorders have also been viewed from a linguistic or phonological perspective.
Some treatment approaches have traditionally focused on articulation production and others have been more phonological/language-based. Articulation approaches, the clinician works on target each sound deviation and are often selected by the clinician when the child's errors are assumed to be motor-based; the aim is correct production of the target sound(s). Phonological approaches target a group of sounds with similar error patterns, although the actual treatment of exemplars of the error pattern may target individual sounds. Phonological approaches are often selected in an effort to help the child internalize phonological rules and generalize these rules to other sounds within the pattern (e.g., final consonant deletion, cluster reduction). Both approaches might be used in therapy with the same individual at different times or for different reasons.
At SVS-Rehab we are trained to work with people with articulation disorders. For an appointment please call us at 905-302-0998 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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