Articulation, or phonological, disorders result in difficulty producing and/or distinguishing speech sounds. It may reflect an impaired ability to produce speech sounds, or to store and retrieve speech sound information. For example, sounds may be substituted (e.g. wabbit/rabbit), omitted (e.g. be/bed) or distorted.
Articulation disorders are among the most prevalent communication disabilities diagnosed in preschool and school-aged children, affecting 10 percent of this population. Adults may also have difficulty with producing clear speech which, if left untreated, can impact every social or professional situation.
Articulation disorders may result in in poor intelligibility, impaired phonemic awareness and may also lead to difficulties in reading and writing. Phonemic awareness is an important prerequisite for reading. It is the connection between the sounds and symbols of a language and requires the ability to manipulate different features. Rhyming, identifying sounds and syllables, being able to substitute, omit and blend parts of words are all components of phonemic awareness.
Verbal apraxia and Childhood Apraxia of Speech are motor planning disorders and result in inconsistent errors which often become more complicated and less intelligible as the person attempts to self-correct. Dysarthria is a disorder caused by nerve damage or muscular weakness which can also impact speech clarity.
Speech therapy is highly effective in improving overall intelligibility and functional communication.