A speech sound disorder is an umbrella term used to describe any difficulty with speech sounds.
If you’re concerned your child may have one, the next step is to take your child to be evaluated by a speech language pathologist.
Then, their therapist will create a custom program designed to help your child improve.
If you’re wondering “are there good options for speech therapy for children?”
We humbly suggest our Washington speech therapy clinic, District Speech and Language Therapy.
But first, let’s take a closer look at speech sound disorders.
What Is A Speech Sound Disorder?
Any difficulty with perception, motor production, or phonological representation of speech sounds can be considered a speech sound disorder.
There are two main types of speech sound disorders that differ depending on their cause.
These are called organic speech sound disorders and functional speech sound disorders.
Signs and Symptoms Of Speech Sound Disorders
There are many different signs and symptoms of speech sound disorders.
They can be grouped into the following categories:
- Substitutions – one or more sounds are substituted, for example “thing” for “sing”
- Additions – one or more extra sounds are added into a word, for example “buhlack” for “black”
- Deletions – some sounds are deleted, for example “poon” for “spoon”
- Distortions – sounds are changed or altered, for example a lateral “s”
- Syllable errors – weak syllables are deleted, for example “tephone” for “telephone”
What Causes Speech Sound Disorders?
The cause of your speech sound disorder determines what type it is.
Your speech sound disorder is organic if it is caused by an underlying cause in your body.
Your speech sound disorder is functional if it occurs with no underlying cause in your body.
There is currently no known cause of a functional speech sound disorder.
How Do We Test For Speech Sound Disorders?
If you’re concerned your child has a speech sound disorder, the first thing you should do is take them to a speech therapist.
Your child’s speech therapist will test for a speech sound disorder during their comprehensive evaluation in order to fully understand your child’s needs.
They will check your child’s oral motor functioning, which includes their range of motion and their general oral strength.
Your child’s speech therapist will also check for any structural challenges to their speech, including facial symmetry.
Finally, they’ll check your child’s language understanding and speech production.
Your child’s speech therapist will also take into account typical developmental errors that may come up during the test in order to differentiate unusual errors.
How Does Speech Therapy Treat Speech Sound Disorders?
There are many strategies your child’s speech therapist can employ to help their speech sound disorder.
The type of strategy they use will depend on the type of disorder your child has.
For this reason, their treatment will be personalized in order to achieve the best results.
Let’s find out more about some common types of speech therapy for speech sound disorders.
1. Phonological Contrast
A phonological contrast approach is used if your child has any phonological errors.
The goal is to improve the contrast in your child’s speech so that they speak clearer, pronouncing each sound correctly.
One example of this is to have your child focus on the differences between similar sounding words and phrases, like “ray” vs. “day” for example.
2. Core Vocabulary Approach
The core vocabulary approach is considered for children with inconsistent speech sound production who also resist traditional therapy approaches.
A list of common words is developed and your child is tested on these words each week.
The goal is for them to practice these words until they can consistently produce them.
3. Contextual Utilization
Contextual utilization is an approach that considers that speech sounds are produced in connected speech.
So, it focuses on using context in order to help your child produce the correct sound.
It typically works best for children who are inconsistent in their sound production and need the context to help with consistency so that they will be able to later produce that sound in new contexts.
4. Cycles Approach
The cycles approach targets children who have very unintelligible speech, extensive deletions, some substitutions, and a restricted use of consonants.
It breaks up their treatment into cycles ranging from 5 to 16 weeks.
Each cycle focuses on one or more challenges, and the goal is to stimulate the target, not master it.
This way, the program will repeat until your child begins to incorporate the correct speech sounds into their everyday speech.
5. Complexity Approach
The complexity approach uses complex linguistic prompts to related, untreated targets of speech sound production.
The goal is to have your child grow familiar with these related targets.
6. Other Treatment Options
Finally, some other treatment options for speech sound disorders include:
- Metaphon therapy
- Distinctive feature therapy
- Naturalist speech intelligibility intervention
- Non speech oral-motor therapy
- Speech sound perception training
Book Your Appointment With District Speech Today
As you can see, there’s a wide variety of speech therapy available if your child has a speech sound disorder.
The sooner you can start their treatment, the better because they will improve faster and there will be less time for bad speech habits to get ingrained.
This is why early intervention speech therapy is so important.
District Speech has a team of licensed speech pathologists for children ready to help.
Book an appointment to get started and schedule an evaluation today.
1300 I St NW, #400E,
Washington, DC 20005
District Speech and Language Therapy specializes in speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy solutions, for both children and adults, in the Washington D.C and the Arlington Virginia areas.