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Articulation disorder is defined as a child’s inability to pronounce certain words or sounds correctly. A speech pathologist can assess a child’s speech development, and if they are lagging, they may prescribe speech physical therapy for kids to help correct the problem.

Should I Worry About How My Child Pronounces Words?

As very young children grow and begin to speak, they often pronounce words incorrectly. It is a natural phenomenon that is both cute and transient. Usually, children outgrow it as their oral muscles and their nervous system develop. Both these systems play a role in the child’s development of speech patterns and correct pronunciation. However, some children never grow out of pronouncing words incorrectly and progress to develop an articulation disorder. Articulation disorder is diagnosed when a child past a certain age cannot form correct speech sounds. It is no longer cute when a seven-year-old child continues to pronounce her friend’s name as ‘Woxanne’ instead of ‘Roxanne.’ If a child cannot form speech sounds correctly, strangers may not understand what they are saying. Also, the child may start to feel self-conscious about the way they say certain words and withdraw from social contact. There definitely is a social stigma attached to a child in a class of peers when they are the only one pronouncing words in a ‘funny’ way. Yet, many parents disregard the fact that their children do not pronounce certain sounds or words correctly as inconsequential quirkiness. At present, more than 5% of children joining grade schools have noticeable speech disorders.

Treatment of the Articulation Disorder

A child with a potential articulation disorder will be assessed by a speech therapist who will prescribe treatment usually involving speech physical therapy for kids. The child may be required to work with the therapist one-on-one or be included in a group of children with the same disorder. The therapy sessions may start with the therapist teaching the child how to say certain sounds, like saying ‘r’ sound instead of a ‘w’ sound. Usually, there is a lot of repetition of the exercises as the child needs to practice correct pronunciation. Therefore, speech physical therapy for kids needs to be fun for children. Most of the time, the speech exercises successfully improve the way children pronounce words. However, better results are achieved when the problem is picked up at a younger age, and the speech physical therapy for kids starts immediately.