A phonological processing disorder affects a child’s production and/or mental representation of speech sounds.
A phonological disorder is commonly misdiagnosed as an articulation disorder; however, it is very different. A phonological disorder affects how a child organizes the sounds and understands the speech rules of a language.
To understand phonological processing disorders, you must understand phonological processes.
Phonological processes are the natural way children simplify language as they learn to speak. Speaking like an adult takes quite a bit of coordination of the tongue, lips, breath, jaw, and voice. Therefore, as children learn to speak, they will naturally simplify words to make it easier to say. These processes are normal and expected!
For example, one common process is called “final consonant deletion.” A child who uses this process will delete the last syllable of multi-syllabic words. He or she may say “wa” for “water.” This is normal and usually, disappears by 3 years of age.
Phonological disorders occur when the processes persist past the age when they are supposed to disappear. The link below takes you to a chart of common processes and the age when they are supposed to disappear.
Click here to access your free phonological processes chart.
Usually, there is no known cause.
Phonological disorders affect about 10% of preschool children (National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 1994).
However, research is showing that children with phonological processing disorders often have delays in expressive/receptive language skills. This may indicate there is something going on with their entire language system. That is for another page though!
Articulation disorders and phonological disorders are very similar. Therefore, they are often confused and misdiagnosed.
Some key characteristics of phonological processing disorders include:
The overall goal of treatment is to improve speech intelligibility!
To accomplish this, a child must:
Sensory-motor approach: This treatment approach targets both the perception (hearing/differentiating sounds) and production of sounds (verbally producing the sounds). To accomplish this, the child completes:
The Cycles Approach was created by Hodson & Paden and is widely used with children who have phonological processing disorders.
This treatment again combines:
Minimal pairs are two words that differ by one phoneme. Minimal pairs target sound perception and production.
I learned some important take-away messages during my research review that I wanted to share with you.
If you would like a FREE phonological processes chart organized by age, just fill out the form below.
I love it! It organizes phonological processes by the age they should disappear. It is one page and color coded for easy reference.