Speech Sound Disorders
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a neurologic speech disorder in which a child has difficulty making accurate movements when speaking. In CAS, the brain struggles to develop plans for speech movement. With this disorder, the speech muscles aren’t weak, but they don’t perform normally because the brain has difficulty directing or coordinating the movements. Diagnosing and treating Childhood Apraxia of Speech at an early stage may reduce the risk of long-term persistence of the problem.
Childhood dysarthria is a motor speech disorder that is characterized by slurred or slow speech that can be difficult to understand. It generally happens due to weakness or damage of the muscles that control speech (jaw, lips, tongue). Common causes include neurological disorders, such as stroke or brain injury.
A phonological disorder occurs when your child has trouble producing a certain speech pattern. Children with phonological disorders do not use some or all speech sounds that are expected for their age. They show predictable, rule-based errors (e.g., fronting, stopping, final consonant deletion, etc.) that affect more than one sound. For example, with ‘final consonant deletion’ the ending is left off of each word; or ‘stopping’ the sounds that should ‘continue’ (e.g. “s” or “f”) are replaced by sounds that ‘stop’ (e.g. “t” or “p”). In this example, your child might say ‘toap’ for ‘soap’ or ‘pish’ for ‘fish’. These errors may make it hard for other people to understand the child.
Articulation disorders focus on errors in production of individual speech sounds. This may be due to imprecise placement, timing, pressure, speed or flow of movement of the lips, tongue or throat.
Errors may be characterized by:
- omissions (cool for school)
- distortions (irregular production of a sound),
- substitutions (wock for rock)
- additions (puhlease for please).
A speech-language pathologist can assess and determine if your child’s errors are considered age appropriate or if they should be treated by direct therapy intervention.