Phonological processes are speech sound error patterns that children use to simplify speech. Unlike articulation errors, which occur when a child has difficulty producing one or two specific speech sounds, phonological processes are error patterns that can occur across groups of sounds. For example, in the pattern called ‘fronting’, all “back sounds” (sounds made in the back of the mouth like k and g) may become “front sounds” (sounds made in the front of the mouth like t and d). Similarly, with the process called ‘stopping’, many “long sounds” (such as fricatives like s, z, and f) may become “short sounds” (such as stops like p, t, and d.
It is normal and expected for very young children to simplify speech sounds until a certain point. In fact, many of these patterns are considered typical until around age 3. However, as communication develops, these errors are expected to fade away, and the majority of phonological patterns should disappear altogether by age 5 years. A child may have a phonological disorder if:
Signs of a Phonological Disorder:
The table below provides information regarding some of the most commonly occurring phonological patterns. The age of elimination indicates the typical age by which the process should fade away.
A key component of speech-language intervention is learning and implementing strategies at home to ensure carry-over and communicative success for your child across multiple environments. A part of our job as speech-language pathologists is to provide caregivers with the knowledge and strategies they need to best support their children.
At Ocean Beach Speech, we believe that YOU, as the caregiver, play the most impactful role in helping your child reach his/her communication goals. While we may be lucky enough to spend 30 to 60 minutes per week with your child, nothing rivals the quality time that many caregivers have at home with their children.
We have provided some examples of five common misunderstandings in speech and language education, and what you can do instead!
Speech Sound Development
A speech sound disorder means difficulty with or a delay in speech development. There are different types of speech sound disorders, so you may hear any of the following: speech disorder, articulation disorder, speech delay, phonological disorder, childhood apraxia of speech, or speech impairment. These do not all mean the same thing, but they are all referring to a speech sound disorder.
Speech sound disorders are very common and, in most cases, there is no known cause – it is highly unlikely that anything you, your child, or another family member did (or didn’t do) contributed to your child’s speech sound development. Speech sound disorders are not due to your busy work schedule, your child being lazy, your parenting style, or their sibling who has a habit of speaking for them. Most babies and toddlers (about 90%) have an innate ability to start talking and producing speech sounds without any help. For the remaining 10%, explicit instruction using evidence-based techniques from a speech-language pathologist can help your child meet their communication milestones.
Types of Speech Disorders
One of the most commonly treated areas within our scope of practice as Speech-Language Pathologists is speech sound disorders. When a child has a speech sound disorder, they may have trouble saying certain sounds and words past the expected age, ultimately making it harder for others to understand them.
Research suggests that 2.3% to 24.6% of school-aged children may have speech delay or speech sound disorder. In a class of 25 students, that could be anywhere from one student per class, all the way up to 6 students per class! Even though speech sound disorders are highly common, many don’t realize that the term itself encompasses a variety of specific diagnoses. Articulation disorders, phonological disorders, and childhood apraxia of speech are three distinct types of speech sound disorders, and approach to treatment for each disorder can vary significantly.