Home > Common Disorders > Children's Speech Sound Disorders

Children's Speech Sound Disorders

By: Beth Morrisey MLIS - Updated: 13 Apr 2017 | comments*Discuss
Speech President Children Language

Children with speech sound disorders either can not produce speech sounds, can not correctly produce specific speech sounds or can not use speech sounds correctly when they do produce them. These speech sounds may be related to one letter or may be related to entire syllables. Generally these disorders are more specifically classified as either articulation disorders or phonemic disorders, though there may be some mixed speech sound disorders as well. In a broader context, however, there are four main types of speech sound disorders. The causes of speech sound disorders vary, and speech therapy is very often the first option for treating speech sound disorders.

Types of Speech Sound Disorders

Children who experience speech sound disorders usually fall into one of four broad categories. Omissions occur when children leave out sounds or syllables either because they can not produce them, can not produce them correctly or do not use them correctly throughout their spoken language. Additions, sometimes also called commissions, occur when a child adds an extra sound or syllable to a word. Distortions occur when a child pronounces a word correctly, but one of the sounds involved is not correct. Finally, substitutions occur when a child consistently substitutes one sound for another. This generally holds true across language, so that children produce the wrong sounds consistently.

Causes of Speech Sound Disorders

Speech sound disorders may have any number of causes. Some may result from developmental disorders such as autism and some may result from genetic syndromes such as Down syndrome. Hearing loss and illness may also cause some speech sound disorders, and neurological disorders may also give rise to speech sound disorders. Some speech sound disorders may also occur without a known cause, or they may be associated with another speech and language disorder. Physiological factors which prohibit a child from producing specific sounds may also be the underlying cause of some speech sound disorders.

Treatment for Speech Sound Disorders

Children with speech sound disorders very often engage in speech and/or language therapy. Speech therapy is the therapeutic treatment of speech difficulties and disorders. Speech and language therapy helps to treat an individual’s speech and language difficulties and disorders. Speech therapy is generally private and only involves the child and his or her therapist, though parents may be involved as needed. What occurs during speech therapy will depend upon the child’s difficulties and abilities, but activities such as flash cards, working on handout sheets, clapping games, practicing vocal sounds and even storytelling, reading and conversation are all common. Often parents will be taught how to carry out drills or activities at home so that children can practice in between sessions as well.

Children who have speech sound disorders very often benefit from speech and/or language therapy. However, some speech sound disorders can not be totally corrected and so some residual errors may persist throughout the child’s life. Usually these residual errors do not prohibit communication though, as children learn to work with them or even partially mask them the longer they live with them. For more information about children and speech sound disorders, contact your GP or a local speech and language therapist.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
My 3 year old grand daughter has been diagnosed with speech sound disorder, but my daughter has been told that nothing will be done to help her until she is 6, and that we are to prepare for her becoming less articulate as she 'gives up trying'. This is really distressing. We so want to help her but have no idea what to do or where to go. Any help would be very much appreciated.
Nanna J - 13-Apr-17 @ 9:52 AM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Roxy
    Re: Developmental Disabilities and Speech Difficulties
    It all started on day when I was 4 or 5 years,old in the early 1980s. I was to take a nap &I didn't…
    16 March 2020
  • Vanni
    Re: What to With Problems Pronouncing 'Sh' and 'Ch'?
    Im 17 years old and I had speech from the age to 2-15 and the problems I had with the letters CH SH H…
    18 February 2020
  • Roxy
    Re: Dysprosody
    It's been 39 years ago since I had the accident that affect my frontal lobe area & caused me to have DYSPROSODY. Well when I was 4 years back in 1980…
    14 January 2020
  • Big.
    Re: What is Backing Disorder?
    Shar, you are exactly correct. It is all over TV, especially in news departments. Had to listen to Michelle Obama for 8 years talk…
    7 January 2020
  • Shar
    Re: What is Backing Disorder?
    I noticed so many people on television with the S backing and it drives me nuts but my friend says it's a speech impediment and they…
    9 December 2019
  • Kathy
    Re: Auditory Verbal Therapy
    What kind of treatment and needed to help his disorder How to explain why he needs get treatment How it help him in life Katheen…
    15 October 2018
  • Jen
    Re: Expressive Language Disorder
    @seaside123 - have to been to see your doctor because your doctor will help you and refer you to the right counselling for you :(
    31 May 2018