Articulation & Phonological Delays

Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation and Phonological Delays

What is an Articulation Disorder?

An articulation disorder is a deficiency in the ability to produce sounds motorically or difficulty in having two articulators (teeth, tongue, lips) meet to produce the sounds in isolation, syllables, sentences, paragraphs and/or in conversational speech which is not consistent with chronological age.  

Articulation errors are considered motor-based errors.  An articulation difficulty may be defined as difficulty in producing a single or a few sounds with no pattern or  rule.

What Causes an Articulation Disorder?

There is not always an identifiable cause for articulation disorder in children.  Sometimes children just do not learn how to pronounce sounds correctly and/or understand the rules of speech on their own. They require more support and instruction. There may also be more tangible factors that play a role, such as developmental disorders, hearing loss, neurological disorders, genetic syndromes or illnesses. These issues can all affect a child’s speech development and contribute to articulation disorders. Articulation disorder testing can help to determine the cause if one is identifiable and can provide more information on specific articulation issues. Even if the exact cause is unknown, treatment can still be beneficial.

Articulation & Phonological Delays

Examples of articulation errors are

  • Substitution - one or more sounds are substituted, which may result in loss of phonemic contrast (e.g., "thing" for "sing" and "wabbit" for "rabbit")

  • Omission - certain sounds are omitted or deleted (e.g., "cu" for "cup" and "poon" for "spoon")

  • Addition - one or more extra sounds are added or inserted into a word (e.g., "buhlack" for "black")

  • Distortion - sounds are altered or changed (e.g., a lateral lisp with "s")