Speech Disorders

Speech disorders affect the pronunciation of sounds.

For example, a child may have good vocabulary and understanding of language, but when he or she talks, it is difficult to understand what he or she is saying.

Below is a list of the different disorders.

1. Articulation Disorder

An articulation disorder is when someone does not say specific sounds correctly. He or she may substitute a sound for another sound (Say /w/ instead of /r/), make a distortion of a sound, or not say a sound at all.

Of course, some errors are normal. A 3 year old will not say /r/ correctly since it is a later developing sounds. However, a 3 year old should be able to say /m/ and /b/. 

To review which sounds a child should have mastered by a certain age, please refer to this chart: Articulation Chart.

2. Phonological Disorders

First of all, phonology is the study of how speech sounds are organized and used in a language. Phonological processes are ways children simplify words as they learn to speak.

These “simplifications” or “phonological processes” are normal and expected. Young children will naturally have trouble coordinating their lips, tongue, voice box, etc...correctly. For example, a child may say “back” for “black” which is cluster reduction.

Phonological processes become a phonological disorder when they persist past the age when they are suppose to disappear.

To review when certain phonological processes are suppose to disappear, click here. Phonological Processes/Disorders.

3. Childhood Apraxia of Speech

Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a motor speech sound disorder. A child with CAS has difficulty planning and saying certain speech sounds.

The “motor planning” part of the brain is not communicating correctly with the lips and tongues. The child may have difficultly saying sounds accurately or even initiating speech. 

Click here for more information on speech disorder: CAS. It is a bit  technical and geared towards speech language pathologists, but it has lots of good information!

How common are speech sound disorders and what causes them?

A speech sound disorder is quite common from ages 3-8 years old. The cause is not always known but some risk factors include:

  1. Family history of a speech disorder
  2. Chronic ear infections 
  3. Hearing Loss
  4. Developmental Disorders
  5. Neurological Disorders

Why does my child need therapy? Won't he or she outgrow it?

Some children need help learning how to say certain sounds even if they don't have any of the risk factors listed above.

They don't outgrow it.

Speech therapy is HIGHLY recommended since speech sound disorders can put a child at risk for:

  1. Behavioral issues due to frustration of not being understood
  2. Social issues, feeling different or being teased
  3. Reading difficulties
  4. Writing difficulites
  5. Academic learning difficulties

Questions or Concerns About Your Child?

Leave us a note and we will be MORE THAN HAPPY to answer any questions at our forum.

› Speech Disorder


  1. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.).Retrieved on June 2, 2013 from http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/speechsounddisorders.htm
  2. The Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America. (N.D.) Retrieved on June 2, 2013 from http://www.apraxia-kids.org/guides/slp-start-guide/.