Speech Sounds
Speech Sounds 

Articulation refers to the ability to produce different speech sounds (phonemes) correctly.  Sounds differ in the way they are produced and where they are produced in the mouth.  Children learn speech sounds by listening to those around them.  It is a developmental process.  Therefore, it is expected that children will make developmental speech errors, such as a 5-year-old substituting 'w' for 'r.'  Most sounds are mastered by age 8 (please refer to the website page to see speech sound development charts).  If errors persist past the expected age of mastery, the child may have a speech sound disorder.   

Speech Sound Disorders include: 

-Articulation disorders:  Articulation disorders involve problems producing specific age-expected sounds.  The sounds can be substituted, deleted, distorted, or added (e.g., "three" may be pronounced as "free" if the child has difficulty producing the "th" sound).  The underlying cause of articulation disorders is in the motor movements required for accurate sound production.    

-Phonological disorders: Phonology is our understanding of speech sounds and the rules that govern how we can combine those sounds to make words.  Children with phonological disorders have difficulty understanding the sound system and speech rules of our language.  Their speech involves patterns of sound errors that are not expected for a child of that age. For example, when trying to produce words that end with consonants, the child may drop the final consonant (e.g., saying "pho" for "phone" or "cu" for "cup"). The patterns are known as "phonological processes."  Phonological processes include final consonant deletion, cluster reduction, backing, etc.