Speech Sound Disorders

The difficulty in organising and coordinating the location of the lips, tongue, and jaw, which affects the capacity to produce clear, understandable speech sounds, is what is referred to as a speech disorder.

Speech sound abnormalities are frequent in children who are beginning to speak and are a typical component of the development of speech. While these issues improve with time, for some children, they persist and need professional assistance to treat.

Speech Sound Disorders

Causes Of Speech Sound Disorder

The causes of most children’s speech sound disorders remain unknown. 

However, anatomical issues such as cleft palate or tongue-tie, physiological issues such as low tone, developmental illnesses such as autism spectrum disorder, genetic diseases such as Down Syndrome and sensory inadequacies such as hearing impairment have all been linked to speech sound impairments.

Oral sucking habits, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) difficulties, being male, and having a family history of speech problems are all variables that contribute to speech sound disorders.

How Speech Sound Disorder Manifests

Speech sound disorders manifest through articulation errors, phonological errors, and motor speech errors.

Articulation errors entail difficulty in coordinating the lips, tongue, or jaw to create clear speech sounds. Lisps are the most common type of articulation error. Phonological errors and language-based errors reflect a breakdown in a child’s understanding of the rules of a language’s speech sound system. Motor speech errors result from children’s low muscle tone, which causes speech sounds to sound slurred.

When You Should Seek Help

When your child’s speech appears more difficult to understand than that of his or her peers, when he or she makes speech errors that his or her peers do not, when he or she feels very self-conscious about his or her speech, when he or she is frustrated by his or her speech, when he or she is picked on because of his or her speech, when he or she understands less than 70% of the time at the age of three and a half years, and when they have speech that is 100% intelligible. It is never too early to get help for speech sound issues. If you’re concerned about your child’s speech sounds, please contact us. 

How We Can Help

If you are unsure whether your child has a speech sound disorder, you may book a free first appointment with us to speak with one of our speech pathologists. We also provide speech screeners, which allow you to determine whether or not your child has speech sound disorders. However, when you come to us, we prefer to make sure that your child does not have any hearing problems. As a result, we refer you to audiology services that allow us to rule out any undetected ear infections that may be causing hearing problems at specific frequencies. Following that, we conduct a speech evaluation to determine the impact of speech sound disorders on your child’s spoken language and literacy development.

Our assessment looks at the shape and movement of the child’s mouth muscles, particularly the jaw, tongue, cheeks, and lips. This is an oromotor assessment. It attempts to comprehend the tone, strength, and synchronisation of the mouth muscles. A study of the child’s swallowing is also performed to see whether there are any tongue thrusts. We also look behind the tongue to see if there is a tongue knot. This oromotor assessment assists us in determining the physical issues that may be impacting the child’s speech sounds.

We also conduct a variety of formal and informal assessments utilising well-designed tasks and activities. Individual speech sounds in a variety of words are also assessed. We assess the child’s speech informally using games and discussions to search for patterns of discrepancy. Overall, we try to identify patterns in speech errors to better understand the child.

Our assessment also looks at intelligibility, pre-literacy and literacy abilities, and language. We are especially interested in the effects of speech sound problems on a child’s language development and social skills development.

Following a comprehensive assessment of the child, we build a therapeutic management plan that includes teaching a hierarchy of skills. The plan prioritises targets based on the quantity and kind of speech sound defects discovered during the assessment stage. The therapy is done once a week and is followed by home practice activities and games. To keep the child motivated, we ensure that the therapy strikes the proper combination of challenge and fun.