Speech Sound Disorder

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What to expect

Speech Sound Disorder

What is speech sound disorder?

A speech sound disorder is a speech disorder which affects the production of speech sounds (phonemes) of a child's language. A child with a speech sound disorder may not be able to produce some sounds, produce them incorrectly, or not use them correctly.

Speech sound disorder can be divided into three main types:

Articulation disorder

An articulation disorder is a disorder where the child will find it difficult to physically produce certain sounds. This disorder affects the main articulators e.g. the lips, tongue, teeth, hard palate, alveolar ridge and the glottis.

Phonological disorder

A phonological disorder is where the child has difficulty learning the rules of the sound system of their language. Difficulties may include not recognising that certain sounds have different meanings e.g. the child may fail to recognise the contrasts between ‘k' and ‘t' in “key” and “tea” , producing them both as “tea”.

Mixed speech sound disorder

Mixed speech sound disorder is where the child has a mixture of both phonological and articulation disorders.

Speech sound disorders will affect a child's ability to produce speech clearly, in severe cases a child may be unintelligible (poorly understand by others).

What problems caused by speech sound disorders in children can speech and language therapy help with?

Children with speech sound disorder may experience the following difficulties. These difficulties can be supported by speech and language therapy:

How is speech sound disorder in children diagnosed?

A speech and language therapist will be able to identify if a child has a speech sound disorder. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment of the child's speech and language to determine the severity and type of speech sound disorder. An initial assessment will include:

  • A case history of your child's development.
  • A general conversation with you about your child's speech and language difficulties and any concerns you may have.
  • An observation of your child's speech, language and interaction skills.
  • A more detailed assessment of your child's speech and language skills e.g. asking your child to name pictures which contain specific sounds, asking your child to repeat words or sounds and asking your child to follow verbal instructions.

How does speech and language therapy help children with speech sound disorders?

Speech sound disorders respond well to speech and language therapy. The speech and language therapist will aim to improve your child's intelligibility in speech.

There are different types of therapy for each speech sound disorder i.e. phonological disorder and articulation disorder. For children with articulation disorder the therapist will focus on articulation therapy, teaching the child how to physically produce the sounds they have difficulty with. For children with phonological disorder the speech and language therapist will use phonological therapy which helps the child to understand and use the rules of their sound system appropriately.

The speech and language therapist will also support you as the parent or carer in helping your child's speech sound disorder. The speech and language therapist can provide you with activities and strategies for your child speech sound disorder.

Speech sound disorders are treatable with speech and language therapy.

What would speech and language therapy treatment for a child with speech sound disorder involve?

An initial assessment carried out by the speech and language therapist will identify whether your child has a speech sound disorder. Assessment will also help to categorise the type of speech sound disorder your child has which will determine the most appropriate therapy for your child. Speech and language therapy may involve the following:

Specific treatment may include:

How do I arrange a speech and language therapy assessment?

If you wish to arrange an appointment with one of our speech and language therapists then please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.

Summary

A speech sound disorder is a difficulty in producing the sounds within your language. Speech sound disorder may result in a child having difficulty producing sounds and words which may reduce their intelligibility. Speech sound disorders respond well to speech and language therapy. If you feel you or your child will benefit from any of the above services then please contact us. If you would like to arrange an appointment for your child please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 0885 643.


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Next steps

To speak to a Speech and Language Therapist or to book an appointment, call us on 0161 883 0111 or email office@slt.co.uk

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