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A speech sound (or articulation) disorder is when your child has difficulty making speech sounds. For example, if a child says “dup” when he is trying to say “cup,” this is a problem with speech sounds. Many children with speech disorders are also hard for others to understand.
Children begin building speech skills from birth, then develop sounds over time, and eventually, use all speech sounds correctly. Using the earlier example, it would be fine if a 12-month-old child said “dup” for “cup,” but that would not be expected from a four-year-old child. A child has a speech disorder when they are unable to make sounds that would be expected for their age. Both children and adults can have a speech disorder. It can occur as a result of a medical problem or have no known cause.
How is a Speech Disorder Diagnosed?
Often, parents, family members, caretakers, teachers, or other people close to the child may be worried that a child is not learning correctly or talking the way they should for their age. If you’re worried, it is a good idea to get your child tested. A licensed speech-language pathologist can evaluate or test your child to determine if your child actually has a speech disorder.
How is it Treated?
If your child is diagnosed with a speech disorder, individual and group treatment is offered for children of all ages. Treatment for a speech disorder is always a team effort between caregivers, the clinician, and the child. A clinician will see your child for a limited time each week, so by working with your child at home and completing home carryover activities, you will see your child progress much faster.
The length of treatment depends on various factors, such as the severity of your child’s disorder, how consistent therapy is attended, how well your child is able to participate in therapy activities, and parent involvement with therapy practice at home. Clinicians will regularly discuss your child’s progress with you. If you have any questions, speak with your therapist.