Speech sound disorder

How we can help people with a speech sound disorder

A speech sound disorder is when people have difficulty articulating sounds and using correct phonological processes. The disorder often develops after mistakes continue in the production of speech after being learned at a young age. Adults can also have difficulties if these mistakes continue into adulthood, or after suffering a stroke or head injury.

What is speech sound disorder?

Speech sound disorder is when someone finds it difficult to articulate sounds and use the correct phonological processes. Speech sound disorder in adults can be categorised into:

Apraxia of speech

Apraxia of speech occurs after damage to the part of the brain which controls speech. The extent of apraxia depends upon the amount of damage to the brain and to which area. Individuals suffering from this disorder will have difficulty sequencing syllable sounds and words. Apraxia can also occur at the same time as dysarthria.


Dysarthria is a result of a stroke or brain injury, when muscles of the face, mouth and respiratory system become weakened or move slower. The extent of damage will depend on the severity of injury to the brain.

What causes speech sound disorder?

In adults, the cause of speech sound disorder can follow on from childhood or occur after a stroke or head injury. Other causes include cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy.

What problems caused by speech sound disorder can SLT UK help with?

Speech and language therapy can help expressive language and general communication problems that are caused by a speech sound disorder.

Speech and language therapy aims will be different for each individual and depend upon the level of difficulty experienced.

How does speech and language therapy help speech sound disorder?

Speech and language therapy can improve a client’s communication skills and help them to develop coping strategies and management of their disorder. Speech and language therapy can also help to slow down the rate of speech. This may result in a client becoming more confident and therefore more fluent in their production of speech.

Speech and language therapy will be individualised to the individual’s specific needs and abilities.

Therapy can improve any aspects of communication affected by a speech sound disorder. Speech and language therapy may reduce a patient's stress and anxiety whilst increasing their confidence. This may open up more work and social opportunities for the individual as their speech continues to improve.

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

Speech and language therapy for speech sound disorder may include assessments, reports, reviews, therapy programmes, training, groups, advice and education.

An initial assessment will be carried out by one of our speech and language therapists. This will highlight any worries and difficulties concerning communication and speech. It will also provide a chance for you to share any concerns you may have, and allow you to discuss what you would like to work on and improve in therapy.


Speech sound disorder can occur in adults following on from childhood or through injury to the brain. Speech and language therapy can help with the result of speech sound disorder and give individuals strategies and solutions to manage and improve their symptoms in the best possible way for them.

If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email office@slt.co.uk or call 0330 088 5643.

Related pages

Speech disorders Cluttering Stuttering Lisp Speech sound disorder Dysarthia
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Intensive therapy programmes

Our speech and language therapists are trained to deliver intensive therapy programmes for individuals that require more than the core speech and language therapy support.

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