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Troubles with Speech Sounds AKA: Articulation

If you found yourself on this page, it is likely because you are a parent wanting to know more about your child's speech sounds. Speech-sound disorders also known as an articulation impairment or phonological disorder is very common and treatable.

  • Articulation disorder is a problem with making certain sounds, such as “sh.”

  • Phonological process disorder is a pattern of sound mistakes. For instance, a child may only produce sounds in the front of the mouth like /b, p, t, d/ and does not produce sounds in the back of the mouth like /k, g, ng/.

As children learn to talk they begin by using "easier" sounds in replacement of others. For, example a toddler may say "shupshake" instead of "cupcake". Kids learn some sounds earlier than other. First sounds include /p, m, w/. Later developing sounds include: /z, v, th/. Most sounds are being used by age 4 and all sounds are usually mastered by age 8, see the chart below.

How are speech sound disorders diagnosed in a child?

First, your child’s hearing should be screened. This is to ensure that your child isn’t hearing words and sounds incorrectly. It is important to rule out a hearing impairment.

A speech-language pathologist will administer a test to determine if your child has a speech-sound disorder.


Many children learn to say speech sounds over time, but some do not. Often, a speech sound disorder has no known cause. But some speech sound errors may be caused by:

  • a developmental disorder, like autism;

  • a genetic syndrome, like Down syndrome;

  • hearing loss, from ear infections or other causes; or

  • brain damage, like cerebral palsy or a head injury

How are speech sound disorders treated in a child?

The speech-language pathologist will put together a therapy plan and provide you with a home program.

If you think your child has difficulties with articulation, schedule a free screening with us today!

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