Skip to main content

Speech Sound Disorders

Most children make mistakes as they learn to talk. And many of these mistakes become part of stories told to grandparents, other relatives, and friends over the years. However, when mistakes continue past a certain age, this may indicate a speech sound disorder, that if left untreated may result in hurtful stories and negative reactions by other children and adults.

Speech sound disorders can be divided into two primary types: Articulation disorders and phonological disorders. A person with an articulation disorder has difficulty learning to physically produce the intended speech sound. For instance, many children with articulation disorders have difficulty correctly producing the “r” and/or “s” sounds, producing a “w” for “r” (“wabbit” for “rabbit”) and a “th” for “s” (“thun” for “sun”).

A person with a phonological disorder has difficulty organizing their speech sounds. The child may be able to produce sounds, but not in the correct place. For example, a child may substitute a “th” for “s” (“thun” for “sun”), but use the “s” sound instead of “ch” in other words (saying “soo” for “chew”).

Some children have both articulation and phonological disorders. In such cases, teaching the child how to use a sound (phonology) will not be helpful if the child does not know how to produce the sound (articulation). Thus, a blended course of therapy is often used.

Most speech sound disorders occur without a known cause. The child may not learn how to produce the sounds correctly and/or may not learn the rules governing speech sound use. Speech sound disorders can also results from developmental disorders, hearing loss, neurological disorders, and genetic syndromes.

NUCASLL provides comprehensive evaluation and therapy services on the Evanston campus. Diagnostic evaluations determine the course of treatment, including frequency and appropriateness of individual and/or group therapy.

NUCASLL is a unique community resource that merges university research and innovative teaching with clinical services. Experts in the field – faculty who are nationally certified and state licensed speech-language pathologists – direct provision of clinical services, bringing exceptional knowledge and experience to our clients.