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Speech Sound Disorder: an umbrella term used to describe difficulty with producing intelligible speech; can be attributed to an articulation, phonology, and/or motor speech disorder. Errors can include a substitution, omission, distortion, or addition of a sound/multiple sounds.


This chart was adapted from McLeod & Crowe (2020) and can be used to better understand the age at which most English-speaking children correctly produce speech sounds. 


For information on motor speech disorders, click here. 

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Articulation disorders are often characterized by an individual speech sound being produced in error- a lateral or frontal lisp for "s", "r" distortion, etc. 

Phonological disorders encompass a class or pattern of sounds in error- all final consonants are deleted, "k" and "g" are produced as "t" and "d", etc.

The evaluation process for a speech sound disorder can vary based on case history obtained prior to the appointment. Assessment for a speech sound disorder most commonly includes an oral-peripheral speech mechanism examination to assess structure and function of the articulators and respiration at rest and in non-speech tasks, a speech sound assessment, and a speech/language sample. If this is the first evaluation conducted by a speech-language pathologist, a language assessment is also recommended. 


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There are a variety of treatment approaches for a speech sound disorder whether articulation or phonology-based. Depending on differential diagnosis, etiology, client participation, and family involvement, treatment will be tailor-made to the client's specific needs. Best practice includes incorporating principles of motor learning for all speech sound disorders. A home program that best fits the schedule of the family is also recommended for the most efficient and long-lasting progress to be made. 


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