A girl is doing a blowing exercise during a speech therapy session, with the speech therapist sitting next to her.

Articulation Disorder: Symptoms and Treatment

Synopsis team

What is the articulation disorder, what are the symptoms and are there treatment options?

Articulation Disorder and Treatment

As a speech therapist, you may have encountered clients with articulation disorders. These are speech disorders that affect a person's ability to produce speech sounds correctly, leading to difficulties in being understood by others. In this article, we will delve deeper into what articulation disorder is, the symptoms, and the various treatment options that can help your clients improve their speech.

What is Articulation Disorder?

Articulation disorder is a type of speech disorder that affects a person's ability to produce specific speech sounds correctly. This can result in difficulties in being understood by others, leading to frustration and social isolation. The disorder can occur at any age, but it is most common in children. It is estimated that around 8% of children have articulation disorders.

What are the symptoms of articulation disorder?

A child with a speech disorder may have one or more of these signs and symptoms:

  1. Addition: Adding sounds or syllables to words that don’t belong there (for example, “puh-lay” instead of “play”).

  2. Distortion: Changing a sound, which might seem like a lisp (when “s” sounds like “th”).

  3. Omission: Leaving certain sounds out of their speech altogether (for example, never using “sc” in “school or “scratch”).

  4. Substitution: Always substituting one sound for another (for example, using “s” instead of “th” or “w” in place of “r”).

Treatment Options for Articulation Disorder

There are various treatment options available for individuals with articulation disorder. As a speech therapist, it is important to tailor the treatment plan to the individual's specific needs and goals. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • Articulation Therapy

Articulation therapy involves working with the individual to identify specific speech sounds that are difficult for them to produce and developing exercises to help them improve their pronunciation. This can involve techniques such as using mirrors to help the individual see their mouth movements, practicing specific sounds in isolation, and gradually incorporating the sounds into words and sentences.

  • Oral Motor Therapy

Oral motor therapy focuses on strengthening the muscles used in speech production. The speech therapist will work with the individual to develop exercises to improve their tongue and mouth movements, making it easier for them to produce speech sounds accurately. Examples of exercises can include blowing bubbles, using straws to drink liquids, and practicing tongue movements.

  • Language Therapy

Language therapy is another approach to treating articulation disorder that can be beneficial for some individuals. This type of therapy focuses on improving the individual's overall language skills, including vocabulary, grammar, and sentence structure. Improving these skills can enhance the individual's ability to communicate effectively, making it easier for them to be understood by others.

Articulation disorder is a common speech disorder that affects many individuals, particularly children. As a speech therapist, it is important to be able to identify and diagnose different symptoms of articulation disorders. Treatment options can include articulation therapy, oral motor therapy, and language therapy. By tailoring the treatment plan to the individual's specific needs and goals, you can help your clients improve their speech and communication skills, leading to better quality of life and social interactions.

From the Synopsis Team