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Children and adults with speech sound disorders have difficulty producing certain sounds and words clearly, which may make their speech hard to understand. Articulation disorders, phonological disorders, and apraxia of speech are all recognized speech sound disorders.

Articulation and Phonological Disorders

Individuals who have articulation disorders, have most difficulty producing isolated sounds. This person may have difficulty positioning the articulators – lips, tongue, teeth, jaw – in the correct place to make specific sounds. These errors can include the omission, distortion, or substitution of one sound for another sound.

Phonological disorders typically impact preschool children and are language-based difficulties with producing a whole group of sounds. For children with phonological disorders, they are able to make the oral motor movements necessary to produce sounds, but have difficulty understanding the sound system and speech rules of language.

Apraxia of speech

Although less common, apraxia of speech is another speech sound disorder. Apraxia of speech can also be called childhood apraxia of speech, when diagnosed in children. Apraxia is a neurological disorder that disrupts a person’s ability to plan and sequence the motor movements necessary for speech. A person with apraxia may exhibit difficulty producing vowel sounds, have inconsistent sound errors, and may produce single words better than longer utterances.

The causes of articulation and phonological disorders is unknown. However, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other neurological diseases can cause apraxia of speech.

Assessment and treatment

The Eckelmann-Taylor Speech and Hearing Clinic is uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat speech sound disorders. Standardized assessments and speech samples assist in determining the type and severity of the speech sound disorder. Once a diagnosis is made, certified speech-language pathologists, serving as clinical educators, along with graduate student clinicians, develop an intervention plan focused on increasing the individual’s speech intelligibility.

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