Articulation & Phonology
We work with young children when their speech production lags behind developmental norms and/or when intelligibility is compromised. Treatment begins with a comprehensive assessment of speech sound errors and the phonological patterns that may be part of the problem. Problems treated include difficulty with production of specific sounds and delays in the development of phonological patterns, such as failure to pronounce the final sounds in words.
School aged children sometimes have persistent problems with some of the later developing sounds, such as /r/ or /s/. We use an approach that begins with exercises to improve tongue muscle tone and movement patterns, before focusing on repetitive speech drills to work on the target sound.
We also work with children who have more severe and complex speech disorders. Dysarthria is caused by weakness in the muscles used to produce speech sounds, and is often associated with other motor and neurological problems. Childhood Apraxia of Speech is a problem of motor planning, where the messages from the brain to the muscles get “scrambled” and the child has difficulty saying sounds in the correct sequence.
Research has shown that many children with speech difficulties go on to have problems with reading and spelling, and early identification and treatment of speech problems can significantly reduce those later learning challenges.