You may have heard the terms "articulation disorder" or "phonological disorder". You might be wondering what these are and if there is a difference between the two. In a nutshell…YES!
A phonological process disorder simply refers to the patterns of speech sounds. For example, your child might be leaving off most of their final sounds (consonants) in words. An example would be saying "ca" for "cat" or "du" for "duck". They most likely can produce the /t/ sound in "cat" or "/k/ sound in "duck" without difficulty but the are using the pattern of leaving off final sounds.
ASHA defines a phonological processes disorder as "patterns or error of sound use in a child's speech and language repertoire. The underlying difficulty relates to the rules of language that govern the sound system. Variant rules may be seen in a limited number of sounds in the child's inventory, problems with sound combinations and syllable shapes, and/or difficulties in pronouncing linguistic markers such as plural and past tense markers."
Although this type of speech disorder can be more complicated to explain, a good speech therapist can teach you specifics about your child's phonology disorder. A complete phonological processes chart can be found under the "Milestones" tab. Click on "Phonology Processes" under the "Resources-Milestones" tab and find what age your child should master each speech pattern.
Articulation is the way we say our sounds or "articulate" our words. Articulation disorders often involve substitution of one sound for another, slurring of speech, or indistinct speech. For example: substituting one sound for another might include a /w/ for an /r/. Have you ever heard a child say "wed" for "red"?
The American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA, 2008) also provides the following definition: "problems producing specific age-expected speech sounds. Sounds can be distorted, deleted, or added (e.g." yes" may be produced "yeth" if the child has difficulty articulating the sound /s/.) The underlying cause of an articulation disorder is in the motor movements required for accurate sound production. These may be functional (intact oral mechanism, no neurological damage) or organic (mechanism challenged in some way and/or neurological damage.)"
You can find a speech milestone chart under "Resources" -"Milestones" tab. Click on "Sound Development" and find at what age your child should master each sound.
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