One speech disorder in children is an articulation disorder. Young children often make errors. However, if these errors continue past the standard age for such, he has an articulation disorder.
Children with articulation disorders do one or more of these things:
- Delete sounds (saying “bu” instead of “bus”)
- Substituting sounds (saying “sree” instead of “three”)
- Adding sounds (saying “spagbetti” instead of “spaghetti”)
- Distorting sounds (saying “thpoon” instead of “spoon”)
It is often difficult for a child with an articulation disorder to make sounds made in the back of the mouth like “k” and “g”. They substitute sounds made in the front of the mouth like “t” and “d”. He will say “tup” for “cup” or “das” for “gas”.
He will also have trouble with words using two consonants. He might say “boken” for “broken”, etc.
So, how do I know if the child has an articulation disorder?
If a child can’t be understood at age 3, or if he can’t make sounds that the majority of others his age make, he may have an articulation disorder.
To see ages when these errors should disappear, see Elimination of Phonological Processes at firstyears.org.
Generally, at age 3 a child should be able to make the sounds corresponding to the letters h, w, m, n, b, and p. At four, d, t, k, g, y, and ng.
What causes an articulation disorder?
The cause could be hearing loss, a cleft lip or cleft palate or another physical issue, a neurological disorder, hypotonia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypotonia, but the cause may be unknown.
How is an articulation disorder treated?
If you think that your child has an articulation disorder, he should see a speech pathologist to be evaluated. Your doctor can make a referral. It is important for therapy to begin as soon as a diagnosis is made. It will also be important for you to reinforce things he learns in therapy by practicing with him at home. I found some good pointers for this at mommyspeechtherapy.com and https://www.speechbuddy.com/blog/speech-therapist/speech-therapy-exercises-for-children.