What is Articulation Disorder?Articulation is when we use our ‘articulators’ (tongue, lips, larynx, teeth, hard palate, velum, jaw, nose and mouth) to generate comprehensible speech. An Articulation Disorder is when something has gone awry with our articulators and how they coordinate with each other. This results in an inability to carry out the motor act to produce individual sounds. Articulation disorder is not to be confused with Phonological Disorder; however both are speech sound disorders.
It is important to note that accents are not a speech sound disorder. If you would like to learn about accent reduction, please see our page.
What is the difference between typical speech errors and Articulation Disorder?
Children make speech errors as a part of their development. Sounds can be substituted, omitted or added. These error patterns act as training wheels, as we expect them to disappear at certain ages. For example children may say “wabbit” instead of “rabbit”, substituting the “r” sound with the “w”. This error pattern is only considered a concern once used past a certain age, and as a result the child’s speech becomes difficult for others to understand.
How do Speech Pathologists assess Articulation Disorder?
Your Speech Pathologist at Speakable may conduct a:• Thorough case history
• Oral motor examination
• Picture naming test
• Speech language sample
How do is Articulation Disorder treated?
Clinicians follow a hierarchy when treating Articulation Disorders. Lets use the g sound as an example:• The sound on its own: "g" • The sound in a syllable: "ga" • Short words containing the sound: "gap" • The sound in longer words: "gate" • The sound in sentences: "I giggled at the girl." • The sound in different positions in words. At the beginning: "girl", in the middle: "wiggle" and at the end: "dig".
What does Articulation Disorder look like?
Articulation disorder may present in some of the following ways:
• Facial asymmetry
• Jerky tongue movements
• Slow speech
• Inability to repeat sounds
• Asymmetrical or sagging lips
What are the norms for articulation development?
There are many norm lists available online, however not all of them are accurate. Here is a brief overview of what age these sounds typically develop:
3: h, w, b, p, t, d, m, n, k, g, y, zh, ng
4;0: l, sh, ch
4;6: j, s, z
8;0: th (voiced, e.g th in thing)
8;6: th (voiceless, e.g. th in thank)
What causes Speech Sound Disorders?
Often speech sound disorders are present without a known cause. However the following physical problems can result in a Speech Sound Disorder:• Hearing loss or recurring ear infections
• Neurological disorders (e.g. Cerebral Palsy)
• Developmental disorders (e.g. Autism)
• Genetic disorders (e.g. Down Syndrome)
Where can I get more information?
Some websites can confuse Articulation Disorder and Phonological Disorder, so it is important to find sites which are evidence-based, such as:
Check out the Caroline Bowen
Read the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) website for more information on the assessment of Articulation Disorder.