Articulation & Speech Sound DevelopmentArticulation is the ability to produce sounds to form words. As we know, speech sounds are not learned all at once. It is a gradual process that continues through about second grade or eight years old. Some children will develop their speech sounds quite early and other will progress at a slower pace. Articulation errors can be characterized by substitutions, omissions, and distortions.
Why do some of these errors occur?
- Hearing Loss: our children learn by listening to others and practicing what they hear. A significant history of chronic ear infections, upper respiratory infections, frequent colds, and allergies could lead to even a mild hearing loss which could impact normal speech and language development.
- Oral-motor development: the teeth, jaw, tongue, lips, hard and soft palates are crucial elements for adequate speech sound production. For example, if your child cannot lift his tongue tip to the roof of his mouth, he will have difficulty making sounds such as /t/ and /d/.
- Structural abnormalities such as cleft palate
- Neurological impairment
At home suggestions:
- Be a good listener
- Set a good example with your own speech
- When you can't understand them, let them know it's okay and you can come back to it
- When your child makes an error, don't correct them; just repeat the word correctly emphasizing the difficult sound
- Speak with your pediatrician regarding any concerns
- If your child is receiving speech services, ask the therapist for at-home suggestions
Below are a few suggested websites: