How we can help people with speech sound problems
Speech sounds (phonemes) are the smallest unit of sounds which make up a word of a language. A speech sound problem is a difficulty in producing these sounds.
What is a speech sound problem?
A speech sound problem is where the speech sounds of an individual’s language are not produced properly, not produced at all or not used correctly. There are two main types of speech sound problems which include:
An articulation disorder is a disorder in which an individual cannot produce speech sounds correctly due to the imprecise placement, timing and movement of the speech muscles (lips, tongue, palate or throat).
A phonological disorder is where an individual will have a difficulty in using the rules of the sound system of their language correctly. An individual with a phonological disorder may have difficulty in recognising the difference between a pair of sounds. For example knowing that the ‘p’ in ‘pot’ is different to the ‘h’ in ‘hot’, this may result in a difficulty producing these sounds correctly, the individual may say ‘hot’ for ‘pot’.
Common characteristics of speech sound problems may include:
- Not being able to understand what the individual is saying.
- Use of distorted sounds including consonants and vowels.
- Speech sounding immature for the individual’s age.
- Missing sounds off the beginning, middle or ends of words.
- Mispronunciation of sounds.
- Speech sound problems can occur in both children and adults and will vary in the type and severity.
What conditions can cause speech sound problems?
There are many conditions which can cause speech sound problems in adults, these include:
- Neurological problems
- Hearing loss and impairments
- Voice problems
- Speech disorders
- Communication problems
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Head and neck cancer
- Physical disabilities
- Learning difficulties
How is a speech sound problem diagnosed?
A speech and language therapist will be able to identify and diagnose an individual with a speech sound problem. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will determine whether an individual has a speech sound problem. This assessment will determine the severity of the speech sound problem and will also help in deciding on what the best form of treatment for the individual will be.
How can speech and language therapy help with speech sound problems?
Speech and language therapy can help in treating and supporting an individual with a speech sound problem. The main aim of speech and language therapy will be to increase the clarity of the individual’s speech and maximise their communication.
The speech and language therapist will individualise a treatment plan for each individual depending on their individual speech, language and communication needs. The speech and language therapist will also consider factors such as the individual’s current and past communicative ability and also the underlying cause of their speech sound problem.
The speech and language therapist will support the individual, their parent or carer and also other professionals involved in their care, regarding their speech, language and communication difficulties.
What speech and language therapy treatment can benefit patients with speech sound problems?
There are many types of treatment options speech and language therapy can offer for individual with speech sound problems. The speech and language therapist will carry out an initial assessment which will help to decide on what treatment will benefit the individual.
Different types of speech and language therapy for individuals with speech sound problems can include:
If you feel you may benefit from speech and language therapy or would like any more information on our services please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0330 088 5643.
A speech sound problem is a difficulty in producing sounds of a particular language. Individuals with speech sound problems may experience mild to severe difficulties in the production of speech sounds. The speech and language therapist will aim to improve the clarity of the individual’s speech and also to maximise their communication.