A speech language therapist may see children for a number of conditions and disorders including articulation therapy in Vancouver. These include aphasia, voice and resonance disorder, receptive disorder, expressive disorder as well as oral feed/swallowing difficulty. Another very common problem that can be treated by a speech therapist is articulation disorder. This falls under the broader umbrella of Speech-Sound Disorders. Another related issue under this umbrella is phonological process disorder. In this section, our focus will be on articulation disorder and its treatment.
What is articulation disorder? To be as simple as possible, articulation disorder can be defined as a problem a child may have in making certain sounds, such as “Th” “Sh” “Ph” etc.
Certain signs and symptoms follow this disorder. A few are:
- Leaving off sounds from words (omission): “coo” instead of “school” or “ome” instead of “Home”
- Adding sounds to words: “puhlay” instead of “play”
- Distorting sounds in words (distortion): “thith” instead of “this”
- Swapping sounds in words (substitution): “wubber” instead of “rubber”
Causes of articulation disorder may include developmental disorders, brain injury, disorders which affect the nerves or nervous system, hearing loss, deafness, cleft palates or cleft lips.
The following population groups show the highest rate of articulation disorder:
- Children diagnosed as autistic
- Children with hearing difficulties such as total or partial deafness
- Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy
- Children from low income families
- Low education of parents / little educational support from parents to children
A speech language therapist can greatly help children with articulation disorders. The very first step the therapist will take to initiate a therapy plan for your child is to diagnose the issue at hand. This will be determining the patterns of speech which are occurring, whether substitution is taking place, whether distortion is taking place or whether omission is taking place.
After a determination is made, the therapist can choose to use all, or a combination of some of the following methods:
- The process of Isolation: Isolating the letter family that the child is having difficulty pronouncing correctly. Exercises will be taught in which the child is asked to repeat the sound repeatedly until accuracy is accomplished.
- Practicing a sound in the syllable: this means adding a vowel before or after the target letter and have the child repeat them in succession. For example, if “L” was the sound of focus, the child may be asked to repeat the following sounds: “la” le” “li” “lo” “lu”
- “graduating” to practicing target sounds in full sentences eg. “Pat and Penny were petting Polly”
- The conversation step: using cards, games and other interactive means to initiate conversation in order to identify and work on any additional hindrances to proper articulation.
- Generalization: This is the final step of therapy, the aim is to transfer and have the child apply all that was taught within the therapy sessions to other environments and events of their daily lives. This may be at home, at play, at school or even in a restaurant.
We hope that this has been helpful. Please be reminded that Vancouver Speech Therapy provides articulation therapy in Vancouver. If you are in the area and need help for your child, be sure to reach out.