The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), defines speech sound disorders as the following: “any difficulty or combination of difficulties with perception, motor production, or
phonological representation of speech sounds.” These could present in a variety of different ways, suchas the following:
Distortions: sounds that are produced in a different way that affects the clarity of the sound (e.g. producing /s/ with lateral airflow – comes out as a “lisp”)
Deletions: sounds are left out of the word (e.g. dropping the ends of words, like “duh” for “duck”)
Substitutions: sounds are replaced with a different sound(s) (e.g. “wun” for “run”).
When children have speech sound disorders, they can be difficult to understand. This can cause frustration for them as they are not able to communicate their thoughts clearly. It should be noted that not all sound substitutions or deletions are errors. They may be due to certain dialects or the influence of other languages (if the child speaks more than one language). An example of
a dialectical variation could be when someone who speaks African American Vernacular English (AAVE) says /d/ for voiced “th” (e.g. “dat” for “that”).
An example of one language influencing another could be\ when someone who’s primary language is Spanish says an /s/ or /t/ for voiceless “th” in English (e.g. “mouse” for “mouth”). These differences should not be counted as errors and should not be targeted in treatment.
There are various evidence-based articulation and phonological treatment approaches that can be used to help teach children how to speak more clearly. Your Two Trees’ speech-language pathologist can provide more information about this once treatment begins.