- Articulation disorder - difficulties with the way sounds are formed and strung together, usually characterized by substituting one sound for another (wabbit for rabbit), omitting a sound (han for hand), and distorting a sound (ship for sip).**
- An articulation disorder is often caused by differences in the oral structure of a child, or weak oral muscles.
- Voice disorder - characterized by inappropriate pitch (too high, too low, never changing, or interrupted by breaks); quality (harsh, hoarse, breathy, or nasal); loudness, resonance, and duration. **
Children struggling with a Speech Langauge Disorder in the area of Articulation, may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Weak articulation of the letter /r/.
- Substitution of the 'y' sound with the letter /l/.
-Difficulty with blends that include the letter /r,l,s/
-Speech that is unclear at the age of 3.
-Slow, Slurred Speech.
-Lack of baby sounds that use consonants from 6-7 months of age.
-Weak oral/facial muscles.
-This is known as Dysarthria, which results in slow, garbled speech. These children will often have difficulty early in life with sucking, swallowing and chewing. They will require extensive oral-motor stretching, strength, toning, and respiratory therapies.
These children may also suffer from:
-Developmental Disorders (eg. Autism)
-Neurological Disorders (eg. Cerebral Palsy)
-Genetic Syndromes (eg. Down Syndrome)
*Some errors in articulation are normal for young children. If errors persist past the age of 5, it is important to have your child assessed by a Speech-Language Pathologist. Below is a link to a checklist which shows the sounds children should be able to do between ages 3-5.
Voice disorders can be broken down into four separate categories.
1.Structural- a physical abnormality affecting the larynx.
2. Neurogenic-a problem with the connection between the nervous system and larynx.
3.Fuctional-the muscles needed for speech function poorly.
4.Psychogenic-the voice does not function properly due to psychological reasons.
Symptoms of a voice disorder include:
-Shortness of breath
-Decrease in pitch or sound
-Loss of voice
-Increase of strain to speak
A Voice Disorder may be cause by:
-overuse of the vocal chords resulting in chronic laryngitis, nodules, and cysts.
-neurological conditions (eg. Parkinsons)
-surgery (eg. heart bypass)
*Both children and adults may be affected by voice disorders. It is important to have an issue with your voice evaluated by a professional no matter the age.*
A Speech-Language Pathologist explains Voice Disorders below:
As with all Speech-Language disorders, it is important to have a Speech-Language Pathologist assess your child to determine the amount and type of therapy that will be required. There are several things that can be done for articulation outside of therapy, which include:
-Using speech that is clear and easy for your child to follow and understand.
-Repeating what your child says, using the correct sounds. It is important to never imitate incorrect sounds.
-Singing songs that contain the sounds that are struggled with.
-Focusing on one or two sounds per week, and ensure words with those sounds are said correctly around the child often.
-Encouraging your child to speak. Avoid asking them to repeat themselves, as this will increase their levels of frustration.***
There are several programs that a Speech-Language Pathologist can use in therapy with children that struggle with Articulation. These are:
-Traditional Articulation Approach
-This includes practicing the new, correct sound in segments of speech that
increase in complexity.
-Teaches the most difficult areas of production to develop a change in
-Principles of Motor Learning
-Motivation, task understanding, practice, and feedback are emphasized in this
For more information on these programs visit:
Below is a video capturing a therapy session of a child with an Articulation Disorder.
Voice disorders often require both medical attention, as well as Speech-Language Therapy. Speech-Language Therapy may involve:
-Breath support exercises
-Vocal chord movement
-Relaxation of muscles involved in voice production
-Voice Assessment including:
-The use of voice at work and home
- Vocal Parameters: voice quality, and how loud/soft, and high/low the voice can
-Diagnostic Therapy-what therapy can result in immediate relief of vocal strain.
How to prevent Voice Disorders
-Avoid whispering for long periods of time
-Avoid straining your voice
-Ensure vocal chords are kept well lubricated-drink lots of water!
-Drink water after having a caffeinated beverage, as they may dry out vocal chords.
Below, a woman explains her voice disorder, what was done to treat it, and how her life has changed as a result!
Links to Resources
** http://www.asha.org/careers/professions/sld.htm*** http://everythingspeech.com/treatment/articulation-treatment/