Speech Sound Disorders in Children: The Signs and Symptoms
Many children have difficulty pronouncing sounds as they build their vocabulary. Certain types of mistakes are fairly common in some age groups and pass with time. However, if issues linger past a certain age, a speech sound disorder might be the cause.
Speech sound disorders include articulation trouble, or difficulty making certain sounds, and problems with phonological processes, or sound patterns. A child with an articulation disorder might pronounce the word “yes” as “yeth” – or might leave some syllables out of words entirely. A phonological process disorder might mean that a child substitutes non-interchangeable sounds (“tat” for “cat”) or omits part of a letter cluster (saying “bidge” for “bridge”).
Although some speech sound disorders appear without a known cause, these conditions might lead to mispronunciation:
- Hearing loss
- Frequent ear infections (accompanied by hearing problems)
- Developmental disorders
- Neurological disorders
- Genetic syndromes
By age 8, children should be able to properly pronounce all sounds. If not addressed, speech sound disorders can cause difficulty in the classroom, at home and with peers.
Children with speech sound disorders can improve their language skills through speech-language training. If you believe your child might have a disorder of this type, feel free to call us anytime for help. Communication can become easier – with the right, dedicated attention.