Articulation disorder is the inability to correctly pronounce vowel or consonant sounds in speech. The mispronunciations can be adding, deleting, or changing the sound to something else. This disorder is most pronounced in children and those who are afflicted are often difficult to impossible to understand depending on what is stated.
Children who have articulation disorder tend to fall behind in the learning process. Without correction, they will have continued difficulty when it comes to keeping up with their classmates.
There are several causes for articulation disorder that cover a wide range of issues. However, they are all tied into the inability to correctly pronounce words.
- Hearing Loss
- Deviations or Weakness in Oral Musculature
- Processing or Developmental Disorder
- Genetic or Neurological Disorder
- Motor Planning or Apraxia of the Speech
In addition, a physical deformity such as a cleft lip or palate, teeth that are missing, an overbite or underbite may play an important role.
Diagnosing articulation disorder generally does not occur until the age of five. This is because the learning process combined with gaining more control of the muscles necessary for correct pronunciation takes time. So, from the ages of one to four it is common for children to mispronounce words. However, by the age of the five if the child is still difficult to understand, then it might be articulation disorder.
This should be diagnosed by a speech therapist, but there are warning signs that you will need to look for in case your child is having difficulty pronouncing words.
- Additions: Adding extra, unnecessary sounds
- Omissions: Subtracting necessary sounds
- Substituting: Using one sound over another
- Distortions: Incorrect pronouncing that is difficult to understand
Any of the symptoms may exist for children who have articulation disorder. When diagnosed, the treatment should begin as soon as possible.
A speech pathologist will do an evaluation and then provide the proper treatment plan. The treatment will be based on the cause of the disorder itself so that it is directly addressed. Quite often, the treatment is focused on the sounds that are made so that they are changed to their correct pronunciation. By isolating the issue and correcting by practicing with the right sounds,
As children grow older, the proper sounds will become a part of their speech pattern with continual practice. This essentially means replacing an old habit with a new one, but the new habit will be the proper pronunciation of words. However, you will need to identify and have the child diagnosed and treated by a proper speech pathologist so that they can begin to correctly pronounce the words.
In most cases, children that have articulation disorder will benefit from the proper treatment so that by the time they are teenagers it will seem like they never had an issue before. Therefore, it is so important that you pick up on the continued mispronunciation of words when the child reaches the age of five. By this point, mispronunciations should be few and far between. But if your child repeated mispronounces the same words or is difficult to understand, then action will need to be taken.