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.
Your child may have a speech sound disorder if they are:
You might be wondering how to determine whether your child’s speech development is typical. The best way to find out is to speak with a speech-language pathologist (SLP). SLPs are highly-trained clinicians who specialize in assessing and treating speech sound disorders. Two ways that SLPs measure speech skills are by tracking the sounds a child produces and calculating their ability to be understood by people outside of the immediate family. Below are general guidelines for typical speech skills by age:
A speech-language pathologist (SLP) specializing in pediatric speech and language disorders is the best professional to answer your questions about your child’s communication development. You can book a free consultation with one of our SLPs that specializes in speech sound development.