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Articulation Disorders


Articulation Disorder is a general term referring to how accurately consonants and vowels are produced in isolation. If there are errors in the production of consonants or vowels, a speech and language pathologist would attempt to determine the cause of these errors. Typically they are rooted in oral structural deviations or differences or weak oral musculature. There are other reasons for producing phonemes in error such as hearing loss, auditory linguistic processing disorders (phonological disorders) and motor-planning (apraxia of speech). Usually articulation errors do not change due to context. Faulty production of isolated consonants or vowels can be difficult to change as the errors can become habitual over time. The individual would need to be aware of the errors and be taught how to produce these phonemes accurately, starting with isolation and moving into maintenance in context. Traditional speech therapy would be employed, with the use of high motivational rewards and a great deal of practice!

The following are a few examples of an articulatory disorder:

  • Frontal and lateral lisps
  • Weak articulation of /r/
  • Substituting /j/ (the "y" sound) for /l/
  • Difficulty with blends /r, l, s/ (i.e. brake, clown, slow)

The articulatory errors above are often typical of pre-schoolers and are usually not cause for concern. If they persist past age five, an evaluation is necessary.

 
Weak or imprecise isolated production of consonants or vowels may be due to dysarthria, generalized oral/facial muscle weakness. The speed, strength, and accuracy of articulatory movement is compromised. Dysarthric speech sounds weak, “mushy,” garbled or imprecise. Children with dysarthria usually have early sucking, chewing, and possibly swallowing difficulties. They will need strong oral-motor stretching, toning, strength, and respiratory support activities.

► More Information

Click HERE for printable information on articulation therapy.

 

 

 
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