Articulation as stated by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, (ASHA), “is the process by which sounds, syllables, and words are formed when your tongue, jaw, teeth, lips and palate alter the air stream coming from the vocal folds”.
A young child’s ability to develop and produce clear, precise speech, progressing from individual sounds to combining these sounds into meaningful words and ideas, is really miraculous. Children will frequently produce sound errors as they learn to speak, but these errors typically disappear over time and appropriate speech develops. Children who continue with error patterns and sound differently than their same age peers, or who are somewhat unintelligible may have an articulation disorder. “I wuv my new wabbit” may sound cute in a young child’s speech, but will become a source of embarrassment and frustration as a child matures. For additional information about articulation disorders and phonological processes, check out articulation and phonology.
School districts sometimes assess and provide treatment for articulation disorders. However, as a result of large caseloads, public schools may not offer a child treatment unless he or she is one and one-half to two standard deviations below the mean. One standard deviation below the mean is typically considered disordered with standardized assessments. Since children scoring between one standard deviation and two may not qualify for treatment through the school district, it is important to seek outside advice if you suspect your child has an articulation disorder.
Speech and Occupational Therapy of North Texas has several Speech-Language Pathologists who are very experienced with treating articulation disorders. We can evaluate your child to determine if he or she has an articulation disorder. If you would like to talk with a professional to help determine whether your child may need to be evaluated, please call our office at 972-424-0148 and we will be happy to have a professional return your call.