Speech Therapy Exercises for Remediation of the R Sound

Rip, Rug, Run: Speech Therapy Exercises for Remediation of the R Sound

Does your child have a language disorder? If so, they’re not alone. Approximately 8-9 percent of young children have some kind of speech or language disorder.

One of the most common speech and language disorders a child may experience is an inability to pronounce the /r/ sound correctly. This particular speech impediment is known as rhotacism.

If your child has been having a hard time pronouncing the /r/ sound, these speech therapy exercises can help.

Variations of the /R/ Sound

The “R” sound is a very challenging one. This has to do, in part, with the fact that there are so many different ways in which it can be pronounced. It all depends on that letters with which it’s combined.

There are actually 32 different /r/ allophones (sounds) and 21 different /r/ phonemes (collections of sounds).

Clearly, there’s a lot of room for error.

The good news, though, is that your child likely doesn’t have a problem pronouncing all of these different variations of the /r/ sound.

They might be fine with consonant blends (words like free or cream) but struggle with vocalic /r/ sounds (words like are or air).

Before you start teaching them speech therapy exercises that will help them with their pronunciation, it’s important to do some screening to figure out which variations are difficult for them.

You can test how your child pronounces the basic /r/ vocalizations by seeing how they pronounce the following types of /r/ sounds:

  • /ar/
  • /air/
  • /ear/
  • /ire/
  • /or/
  • /er/
  • /rl/
  • the letter /r/ by itself

You can also schedule an evaluation with a speech therapist for a full assessment to figure out which sounds your child needs help with.

Start and End with Success 

During their initial screening or test, you’ll likely identify some /r/ words that your child can pronounce correctly.

Make a list of these words. This will become your child’s warm-up list. They should say these words at the beginning of each practice session.

When your child pronounces these words, have they pay attention to the way their jaw, tongue, and mouth move. Have them listen back to their pronunciations, too. That way, they can learn to distinguish between correct and incorrect /r/ sounds.

You also ought to have your child say these words at the end of their practice session. That way, even if they’ve had a particularly difficult time, they still end the session with a victory.

Connect /R/ to a Vowel Sound 

Now, let’s get into some specific exercises you can do with your child to help them improve.

It’s often easier to pronounce the /r/ sound when it’s connected to a vowel sound.

Have your child start the with a vowel sound like “eee.” Have them hold it for a few seconds, the slowly teach them to combine with the /r/ sound. By drawing it out this way, they’ll soon learn to combine the two sounds and turn an /e/ sound into an /r/ sound.

Repeat this exercise with all the other vowel sounds (long, short, etc.).

Use Visual Cues

It can also help to give your child visual cues to teach them how to pronounce the /r/ sound properly. In order to pronounce the /r/ sound, they will need to change the way they move their tongue. Obviously, this is easier said than done.

One way to teach your child the proper tongue movement is to use your arm to demonstrate.

For example, extend your arm in front of you, then pull it up and in toward the body. Explain to your child that this is the same movement their tongue should make when they’re trying to pronounce the /r/ sound.

Make it Fun

If you want your child to stick with these speech therapy exercises long enough to see results, you need to find ways to make it fun.

Luckily, the /r/ sound is a fun one to learn.

Try having your child pretend they’re an animal. They can practice growling like a bear or roaring like a lion to work on their /r/ sounds in a fun and entertaining way.

You can also play pirates and have them work on their “argh” sound while wearing an eye patch. The options are endless!

Tips for Encouraging Kids to Practice

There are lots of benefits that come with practicing speech therapy exercises.

But, in order to see improvement, it’s important to encourage your child to practice regularly. They won’t see much progress if they only work on these exercises during their speech therapy sessions.

Of course, getting kids to practice is easier said than done. This is especially true when you’re practicing something difficult like changing the way you speak.

So, how do you get your child to practice their speech therapy exercises? Start by giving these tips a try:

  • Use the TV as a tool: When your child is watching TV or a movie, have them listen to what the characters are saying and repeat words or phrases back to you.
  • Find learning opportunities in everyday tasks: When you’re eating out at a restaurant or shopping for groceries, look for opportunities for them practice (have them point out the grapes or raspberries).
  • Combine practice with something else they enjoy: Try pairing these exercises with something fun, like kicking a soccer ball or playing with Legos.

Don’t underestimate the benefit of offering rewards, either.

Sometimes, you just have to offer your child something in order for them to practice. Maybe they can earn a piece of a toy after every practice session or points they can cash in later for a larger prize.

Want to Learn More Speech Therapy Exercises? 

These speech therapy exercises are highly effective for teaching children to pronounce the “R” sound correctly. Do want to learn more helpful exercises? If so, be sure to contact us at Great Speech today.

Schedule a free consultation and learn how our services can help your child improve their speech and pronunciation.

Our services aren’t just for children, either. We offer speech therapy services for a wide range of people, including those suffering from Parkinson’s disease, those looking for accent modification, and those who are recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

 

A comprehensive guide to the most common speech disorders or speech and language disorders

A comprehensive guide to the most common speech disorders or speech and language disorders

Speech disorders are no uncommon condition. An estimated 7.5 million Americans have some sort of problem with their speech. These millions of people could have any number of speech conditions ranging from selective mutism to vocal cord damage.

There are certain speaking disorders that are more common than others, though. Each disorder has specific causes and symptoms that you can use to identify them.

We’re going to go over some of the most common speaking disorders that occur in both children and adults. Keep reading to learn more.

Apraxia of Speech (AOS)

Apraxia of Speech (AOS) is a condition where you are physically unable to say what you want. This is usually the result of damaged neural pathways or brain damage. When the pathways that connect the brain to the speech muscles are damaged, you are unable to physically say what you want to say.

You can think of the words, write down the words, and understand speech, but your ability to actually speak those words is inhibited or impossible. The level of severity can range with this condition. Some people maintain an ability to be understood while others are incoherent in their speech.

There’s also a specific subset of this condition called Childhood Apraxia of Speech. This is a childhood disorder where the neural pathways for speech don’t develop normally or on the “normal” timeline.

Children with this condition can:

  • Be late talkers
  • Have abnormal mouth/jaw movements
  • Emphasize syllables incorrectly
  • Have inconsistent pronunciation

The causes of this condition, both in children and adults, are neurological. This could be genetic or the result of TBI (traumatic brain injury) like concussions, strokes, infections, etc.

Stuttering

Chances are you’ve heard someone stutter before. It’s very common with an estimated 3 million Americans having a stutter at some point.

There are two subsets of this condition: developmental stuttering and neurogenic stuttering.

Stuttering is characterized by the repetition of sounds, interruption of speech, repetition of words, or overuse of fillers like “um” or “er”.

Developmental stuttering is most often seen in children, and 75% of kids grow out of their stutter. This is usually the result of kids not developing their speech correctly, causing them not to be able to get the words out as fast as they’re thinking them. It can be helped with speech therapy.

Neurogenic stuttering is usually caused by traumatic brain injuries like head trauma, concussions, strokes, etc.

Lisping

Lisping is another well-known condition that you’re probably already familiar with. Most of us think of the “th” instead of “s” sound as a lisp, which isn’t incorrect. But there are actually 4 different kinds of lisps that are considered speech disorders.

The common one we think of is the “th” sound that’s made incorrectly instead of an “s” sound. This is called interdental lisp, and it occurs when the tongue pushes past the front teeth when trying to make the “s” sound.

While lisps like this are most common in children, they can persist into adulthood. Lisping is what’s known as a functional speech disorder. This means that it can be adjusted and sometimes corrected with speech therapy.

Speech therapy for those with lisps includes relearning pronunciation, muscle strengthening exercises, and general annunciation coaching.

Spasmodic Dysphonia

People with spasmodic dysphonia (SD) suffer from abnormal spasms in the vocal cords. This can cause the voice to sound strained, tight, broken, soft, hoarse, and/or jittery.

An estimated 50,000 people have SD in the United States. However, this is considered a low estimate since many physicians believe that people are misdiagnosed or go undiagnosed.

Unlike most of the other things we’ve gone over so far, this condition is more common in adults than in children. Onset is usually between the ages of 30 and 50. There’s no single cause of SD; most agree that it’s related to aging and changes in muscles and nervous system pathways.

Those who have trouble talking or find that their voice is particularly shaky or hoarse because of SD can have success with speech therapy.

Aphasia

Aphasia is a condition that occurs after a traumatic brain injury, usually stroke. Those who suffer from a stroke have a one in three chance of developing aphasia. There are an estimated 2 million people with aphasia in the United States.

Brain injury can affect the blood flow to our brain, especially during a stroke. When this happens in language and communication centers in the brain, it can lead to this condition.

Aphasia is characterized by:

  • Trouble getting words out
  • Difficulty finding/saying the correct words
  • Difficulty understanding communication
  • Inability to produce coherent words/sentences
  • Difficulty/inability reading and writing

Those with aphasia have trouble speaking and communicating properly. There are things that can treat aphasiapost-injury to help relearn communication skills that may have been lost or inhibited because of the injury.

Autism and Speech Disorders

Autism spectrum disorder affects 1 in 100 people, making it one of the most common disorders on this list. Not all people with autism have trouble speaking. But, problems with speech, communication, and social cues are some of the most common symptoms of autism.

Difficulty or inability to speak because of autism spectrum disorder can be helped with speech therapy. Therapy can include:

  • Learning communication cues
  • Learning the meaning of words
  • Socializing with others
  • Learning exercises to help make speaking easier

Parents or relatives of those on the spectrum are often encouraged to come along to therapy sessions. This helps the person communicate effectively with the encouragement of their loved one.

Common Speaking Disorders: Wrapping Up

Speaking disorders might seem uncommon, but millions of people around the world are affected by them. It could be something as simple as a childhood stutter or a result of a traumatic brain injury. Whatever the case, speech disorders can affect communication, confidence, and even mental health.

Hopefully these descriptions of the most common disorders can help you understand them a bit better. If you want more information on these disorders and how they can be treated, check out our website.

You can also contact us with any questions.

 

7 Causes for Different Types of Speech Disorders

7 Causes for Different Types of Speech Disorders

Speech disorders can affect anyone at any point in time, no matter their age, race, or gender.

We tend to associate speech impediments with young children. After all, nearly 6 million children under the age of 18 have a speech or language disorder.

However, speech disorders in adults do exist. It’s estimated that 1 in 10 Americans has experienced some form of a speech disorder in their lives.

There are various types of speech disorders, including lisps, stuttering, and even muteness. People with speech impairments can elongate words, add extra sounds, and blink or pause while talking. Some people even become frustrated when trying to speak.

The symptoms of speech disorders are often indicative of a particular speech disorder. In this article, we’ll explore 7 causes of speech disorders that exist in both children and adults.

  1. Genetics

Genetics determine a lot in a person’s life. They can determine how tall a person will grow, their eye color, and whether they’ll develop certain diseases later in life. Genetics can also determine a person’s speech and language patterns.

A child is more likely to develop a speech disorder if a parent currently has or has experienced one. Genetics can cause some forms of stuttering, developmental verbal dyspraxia, and even SLI.

Early prevention can help children with family histories of speech disorders or impaired voice.

  1. Delayed Child Development

Every child develops at their own pace. Some children start walking or talking earlier than other children.

Some children experience delays in their developmental milestones. This is a developmental delay and it can affect a child’s vision, motor skills, and cognitive abilities. Developmental delay can also affect a child’s speech and language patterns.

Causes of developmental delay can range from neglect to autism spectrum disorders. Sometimes, there is no known cause for a child’s developmental delay. Often, children who live in multilingual homes experience delays in their language patterns.

Developmental delay often results in stuttering and other speech disorderss later on in childhood. Signs of speech and language delays in babies under age 1 include:

  • Unresponsiveness to sounds and loud noises
  • Little to no babbling or sound imitation

By age 2, children should be able to speak at least 15 words. They should also be able to speak two-word phrases and communicate more than their needs.

  1. Hearing Loss

A person’s ability to speak significantly depends on their hearing abilities. This is why hearing loss can cause different types of speech impediments.

There are different types of hearing loss that can range from mild to deafness. Some forms of hearing loss affect the eardrums, middle ear, or the outer ear. Other forms of hearing loss can cause ringing, ear pain, and muffled sounds.

Hearing loss and deafness can result from any of the following:

  • Ear infections
  • Birth defects
  • Head trauma
  • Exposure to loud noises
  • Infections (measles, meningitis, scarlet fever, mumps)
  • Aging

Children with mild hearing loss can have trouble hearing higher-pitched sounds, such as “s”, “sh”, “t”, “th”, or “f”. As a result, their ability to speak becomes impaired because they’re unable to learn these types of sounds. They can also struggle to build their vocabularies.

Speech disorders in adults can also stem from hearing loss developed later on in life.

For example, Meniere’s disease is a rare disorder that disrupts a person’s balance and causes hearing loss. Many adults who develop Meniere’s disease go on to learn sign language to adapt to their hearing loss.

  1. Degenerative Diseases

A degenerative disease causes cells in tissues and organs to deteriorate over time. Some degenerative diseases develop with age, while others result from abnormal metabolic rates or unhealthy lifestyles.

Muscles associated with speaking can weaken due to degenerative diseases like ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Some degenerative diseases can cause dysarthria, a motor speech disorder.

Those with dysarthria often slur or drag their words when they try to pronounce them. Dysarthria can often lead to a complete loss of speech known as anarthria.

  1. Brain Damage

There are many degrees of brain damage that range from mild to severe. Brain damage can result from disease, a stroke, injuries, or even substance abuse.

A person can become impaired in many ways due to brain damage. When damage occurs to parts of the brain associated with speech, a person’s ability to communicate can become impaired. It’s not only the brain that’s affected, but the muscles associated with speech, such as the tongue, lips, and mouth.

For example, aphasia is a speech and communication disorder that often arises after a person suffers a stroke. Those with aphasia have difficulty understanding and using words. They’ll often slur their words and have difficulty completing their thoughts.

  1. Cleft Palate

Structural abnormalities often cause impaired speech and disrupted language patterns. Cleft palate, for example, is one structural abnormality that can directly impact speech.

A cleft palate refers to a split in the lip. This split causes an opening to form between the upper lip and nose. Cleft palates develop when a baby is in the womb.

Those with cleft palates not only have trouble speaking but may make repeated sound mistakes. This is an articulation disorder and it can affect a person’s intelligibility.

Cleft palates can lead to frequent ear infections, which may result in hearing loss, as well.

  1. Neurological Diseases

A person’s ability to speak can decline as a result of certain neurological diseases. Neurological diseases can affect anyone at any age. However, some neurological diseases don’t develop until later on in life.

For example, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and occurs in older adults. Those with Alzheimer’s disease in the later stages often struggle to form the right words. They can also struggle to speak in full sentences.

CBS, or corticobasal syndrome, is a rare neurological disorder that affects the motor system and cognition. Those with CBS often struggle to find the right words. They can also develop speech articulation problems.

Understanding Types of Speech Disorders

Speech disorders not only affect speech but a person’s quality of life. However, people can overcome their speech impediments and reach their full potential, and it all begins with understanding the causes of different speech disorders.

To learn more about the different types of speech disorders, visit our blog today!

 

The Difference Between Apraxia and a Phonological Disorder, online speech therapy

What’s the Difference Between Apraxia and a Phonological Disorder?

Diagnosing speech disorders in children can be incredibly difficult. One reason why is that kids don’t develop uniformly, and some children’s speech development may lag behind others. They may just need time instead of a therapist.

Another reason is that there are many different types of speech disorders. Each one requires different methods of correcting.

A recent 2015 study found that about 1 in 12 children has a disorder related to voice, speech, language or swallowing. The disorders among these children vary. Two of the biggest disorders are CAS, or Childhood Apraxia of Speech, and phonological disorders.

To get the right help for your child, you’ll need to determine which disorder your child has. Below we’ll break down both types of disorders and explain their differences.

What is Childhood Apraxia of Speech?

Childhood Apraxia of Speech is an entirely neurological disorder. It prevents your child from making accurate movements with their mouth or throat when speaking.

With Childhood Apraxia of Speech, your child’s brain struggles to make plans for speech when your child wants to talk. Your child’s speech muscles aren’t necessarily weak. They simply can’t cooperate properly because the brain can’t coordinate the movements.

This isn’t to say it’s impossible for your child to speak. They just have to make a concerted effort to tell their brain how to organize the movements of their mouth, jaw, and tongue to produce accurate sounds. With speech therapy, this process can become easier.

Symptoms of Childhood Apraxia of Speech

The symptoms of CAS can vary and are difficult to spot. CAS can often be connected to the delayed onset of first words, or the ability to only pronounce a few consonant or vowel sounds. These symptoms are noticed between 18 months and two years of age.

Other symptoms include speech characteristics, generally referred to as markers, that accompany CAS. These markers include:

  • Trouble moving from one sound or syllable to another
  • Incorrect pronunciation of vowels
  • Placing a pause or gap between syllables
  • Placing equal emphasis on syllables of words
  • An inconsistency of errors; like making different mistakes when pronouncing the same word several times
  • Abnormal movement of the mouth or jaw when trying to speak

Causes of Childhood Apraxia of Speech

There are many possible causes of CAS, but in many cases, the cause cannot be determined.

Since it is a neurological disorder, CAS can come as the result of traumatic brain injuries, such as strokes, infections, and concussions.

CAS is also widely considered to be genetically inherited. It occurs more frequently in children that also have galactosemia, a disorder that prevents children from properly metabolizing the sugar galactose.

What Is a Phonological Disorder?

A phonological disorder is a disorder in which a child has trouble grasping the speech rules of a given language as well as the sounds the differentiate words.

Simply put, your child may not be able to recognize the pattern of sounds that accompany certain letters or combinations of letters that other kids can usually intuit.

For example, your child may pronounce the ‘s’ sound in “bus” correctly but will pronounce the ‘s’ sound in “sock” like “shock” or vice versa.

This type of disorder is often broader in scope than something like CAS. It often requires more intensive coaching by a speech therapist.

Symptoms of Phonological Disorders

A phonological disorder can be especially tricky to spot. This is because kids are supposed to say words wrong. It is completely normal for your child to pronounce drop the ‘r’ at the end of “car,” for example.

But if your child continues to make these mistakes later in life, he or she may have this disorder.

If you suspect your child may have these speech problems, you should consult a speech-language pathologist (SLP). If untreated, it can lead to reading, spelling, and other difficulties later in life.

Causes of Phonological Disorders

Like with CAS, the causes of these disorders are largely unknown or hard to pinpoint. But, phonological disorders are linked to other developmental disorders like autism and genetic disorders like Down Syndrome.

Brain damage from concussions or infections, as well as hearing loss, can also contribute to these disorders.

The Differences Between CAS and Phonological Disorders

Both CAS and phonological disorders fall under a greater umbrella known as Speech-Sound Disorders. Within this group are two smaller subgroups. These are articulation disorders and phonemic disorders.

With an articulation disorder, your child has no problem understanding what sounds need to be made when he looks at his words, he simply doesn’t have the muscle-mind connection to effectively produce the correct sounds.

CAS, then, falls under this category. In speech therapy, this disorder is treated simply by practicing the production of the correct sounds until it becomes second nature.

The second category, phonemic disorders, can be used interchangeably with phonological disorders. They are synonyms that refer to your child’s difficult understanding the sound system of a given language.

With your a phonological or phonemic disorder, your child has no difficulty making a variety of sounds. They just cannot yet discern when to make what sound.

For some children, the disconnection between the word and the sound comes as a result of your child’s inability to hear the distinctions between phonemes, or syllables, in his own speech. This is known as the “fis phenomenon,” where your child can hear someone say “fish” correctly, but say “fis” instead, unable to recognize that they’ve made an error.

The Bottom Line

Simply put, CAS is a type of articulation disorder that makes your child say words incorrectly as a result of poor motor function. Phonemic disorders, on the other hand, are an entire branch of speech disorders that relate to your child’s inability to understand where and when to make certain sounds when speaking a language.

If you think your child has either disorder and needs to see a speech-language pathologist, consider getting a free consultation from our online speech therapists to see if our program would be a good fit for your child.

 

articulation disorders, online speech therapy

8 Frequently Asked Questions About Articulation Disorders

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

This is true for the 40 million Americans who suffer from communication disorders–articulation disorders ranking high on the list.

5% of first-grade children have obvious speech disorders and more than three million people stutter.

Articulation disorders (Speech Sound Disorders-SSD), are disorders that affect the form of speech sound. In children, it’s the inability to physically produce a sound or sounds.

Questions loom about the history, the cause, and the treatment of articulation disorders.

So, here are 8 frequently asked questions about Articulation Disorders.

Where Do Articulation Disorders Come From?

The exact origin of disorders that affect articulation is unknown. However, there is a link between genetics and environmental influences that impact the way a child speaks.

Children should be able to pronounce all sounds of the English Language properly by the age of 8.

Genetic syndromes such as developmental and learning disorders, deafness, and autism disrupt articulation.

Constant changes in a child’s surroundings like excessive moving also affects the way he or she articulates.

Are Speech and Language Disorders the Same?

There is a difference between speech disorders and language disorders.

To understand this is to know the difference between speech and language.

According to Merriam-Webster:

Speech is to communicate or express thoughts in spoken words.

Articulation (speech) disorders are the inability to produce the sounds that create these spoken words.

Language is words and their pronunciation by methods of combination used and understood by a community.

Language disorders are the inability pronounce the words used and understood by that same community.

Understanding the difference between the two can help a caregiver decipher the type of treatment a child requires.

What Are the Signs My Child Has One?

Children affected by articulation disorders express them in different ways.

A child could relay articulation issues by distorting and deleting sounds, and by substituting and adding sounds.

For example, instead of saying “car”, a child might say “ca”. Or they might say “stupaman” instead or “Superman”.

Another example is if your toddler is still babbling. A babbling toddler has missed a speech milestone, which is an indication of an articulation disorder.

If your toddler reaches a certain age and they are still leaving out important consonants in words, this is another sign.

Paying attention to the way a child speaks could help with early detection of an articulation disorder.

Should I Worry If I Don’t Understand My Toddler?

Making your child’s speech a priority is important. However, caregivers should not be alarmed if a child does not articulate every word in the dictionary early.

Toddlers babble first.

Babbling is a key milestone in the development of a baby’s speech. It’s a baby’s first attempt at articulation.

As they grow, their language grows. Toddlers should be able to speak at least 20 words at 18 months and at least 100 words by 24 months.

Caregivers should only alarm themselves if their child has not met these milestones.

Do Girls and Boys Develop Speech at Different Speeds?

Children develop at different speeds. Although, it is possible for one sex to develop speech faster than the other.

Girls develop speech faster than boys.

This scientific theory is based on the effect that testosterone has on the speed of speech for boys. Because of testosterone, boys typically take longer to develop speech and language.

Can Caregivers Prevent Speech Disorders?

Becuase the origin of speech disorders is unknown, there’s no clear way for caregivers to prevent articulation disorders.

Early detection is key.

Caregivers can help develop their child’s language by getting an early understanding of key speech and language milestones.

Take them to a pediatrician. Pediatricians normally notice the first signs of missed developmental touchstones.

Recognizing when your child is not speaking the proper amount of words or making the proper sounds to form words at a certain benchmark, can help caregivers get a jump start on helping their child improve their speech.

Shouldn’t the Pediatrician Be Able to Detect a Disorder in My Child?

The American Academy of Pediatrics advocate for the early detection of developmental issues in preschoolers.

They equip pediatricians with the tools they need to perform early childhood screenings that determine if children are on track with their development.

Pediatricians should recommend speech therapy to children with speech and language concerns and refer them to a Speech-Language Pathologist.

How Do I Help My Child?

There are several actions a caregiver can take to assist a child with an articulation disorder.

  • Early Detection: Recognize the signs of an articulation disorder.
  • See your child’s pediatrician. A pediatrician can make a proper assessment and referral to a licensed speech-language therapist.
  • Take your child to a therapist or use an online speech therapy option for anonymity.
  • Read to your child.
  • Practice sound building skills to teach your child how to say the sounds of letters and words that challenge them.
  • Invest in flashcards and use them to help your child sound out words.

Speech Therapy is Key

There are approximately 325.7 million people in America. Forty million of them don’t communicate properly.

A large percentage of them are children who suffer from symptoms such as stuttering, missed or omitted sounds, and other components of an obvious articulation disorder.

Articulation disorders start early. The first signs of speech sound disorders–namely articulation disorders–become distinct as children miss certain speech development marks.

Rule out genetic concerns first. Learning disorders, predisposed developmental concerns, and brain injuries are automatical indications that a child may struggle with articulation issues.

Babbling is a baby’s first attempt at forming sound. When a baby develops into a toddler they should be able to make multiple sounds that clearly resembles words. Those words become strings of words that make short sentences.

If you see your child isn’t making any progress at this point, it may be time to seek professional support.

Take your child to see his or her pediatrician. A pediatrician will able to recommend a speech-language therapist to assist you in getting your child back on track.

Check out our FAQs for more information on speech therapy and how to get help.

How to Tell If Your Child Has an Articulation Disorder, online speech therapy

How to Tell If Your Child Has an Articulation Disorder

Nearly 1 in 12 American children have a disorder which relates to their voice, speech, or language. A large proportion of these children sit in more than one of these categories.

How can you tell if your child has an articulation disorder?

It can be hard to reach a conclusion yourself. Children’s language develops over time, and you shouldn’t expect a very young child to understand complex diction.

But as they grow older, the signs of their difficulty will become more apparent. There are also many reasons why a child might have an articulation disorder and struggle with their speech or language.

In this post, we’ll explain some of the common signs that your child has one of these disorders. We’ll also tell you what you can do to help.

Development Isn’t As Expected

First, we should emphasize that every child is different. Some are recognizing words or even speaking a few words by the time they’re nine months old.

Others won’t reach this stage until they’re closer to a year old. This doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with your child. It doesn’t mean they’re a slow learner either.

Being a baby is a challenge, and listening and speaking are just one pair of skills out of hundreds. However, if by one year of age your child is barely speaking, they may be struggling to articulate themselves. They may need more practice to bring them up to speed, and encouraging them to talk can be helpful.

When children are very small, they “talk” by what’s known as babble. There are no recognizable words, but it’s a stage above the coo-ing sounds a baby makes.

One key sign of speech problems at this stage of development is a lack of consonant sounds in their babble. If everything they say is a string of vowels, this can be an early sign of an articulation disorder.

They Say the Wrong Sounds for Letters

It’s common for young children to say things like “wabbit” instead of “rabbit.” If you stop to think about it, you’ll notice the similarities in the “w” and “r” sounds yourself. So you can see why your child has become confused and developed a problem.

Most children can be taught the right way to say these words over time. However, if by around the age of three your child is still saying words that aren’t quite right, they may have an articulation disorder.

It’s absolutely possible to correct this problem while your child is still young. This will give them the best chance to be understood at school by their peers and successfully take part in group activities.

They Have a Lisp

Childhood lisps are a relatively common problem, and again they are not a reason to worry.

Lisps are defined by a person’s inability to properly say “s” or “z” sounds. Most commonly, people with a lisp substitute this with a “th” (as in the word “this”) sound instead.

A lisp is sometimes caused by a cleft palate. This is where lips and mouths do not form properly during pregnancy and requires surgery to correct. Cerebral palsy can also be a cause.

Speech therapy can help to teach your child the right way to pronounce words and correct their articulation disorders.

Older Children Are Very Quiet or Hard to Understand

Older children with articulation disorders might have realized there’s something “off” about their speech. Sadly, this might come because other children have teased them about it.

They may also have noticed that they can’t make the right sounds compared to other people. This inability means people struggle to understand them and often get the wrong idea about what they mean. This can be very frustrating for your child.

Either of these situations can really hurt their confidence and discourage them from speaking.

By the age of 5 or 6, you may find that you’re asking your child to repeat themselves because you don’t get the message the first time. Maybe other adults are finding it hard to have a simple conversation with them too.

Perhaps they’re growing up to be a very quiet or introverted person. That’s not a problem. But perhaps they’re also struggling with an articulation disorder.

It’s often hard to tell, which is why an expert opinion can be really valuable.

A silent or very quiet child who doesn’t seem to be listening or talking may not have an articulation disorder. They may be deaf, and this can also be quite hard to tell if your child is still very young.

You should take them for regular checkups and ask your doctor for tests if you suspect this.

Speech Therapy For Your Child

If you think your child has an articulation disorder and would benefit from speech therapy, we’re more than happy to help.

Our convenient online service means you don’t have to travel and commit to appointments in another town. Your child doesn’t have to sit in a stuffy office either! We hold teleconferences so that your child can take part in the therapy from the comfort of their own home.

We offer a free consultation to start you off. We do this so that we can talk to you and find out more about the problems your child is having. We’ll then discuss a detailed plan of action to solve the issues.

Please get in touch with us today. Our highly trained speech specialists can’t wait to meet your child and bring their speech up to speed.

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Does Better Hearing Promote Better Speech? Four Telltale Signs of Hearing Loss

LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Do we have to listen to hear or hear to listen?

Hearing is a passive act; unless you are hearing impaired, the act of perceiving sound by the ear simply happens on its own.  Listening however is an active conscious choice. Total concentration is required for your brain to actively take what you hear and make the words meaningful.

Communication involves both hearing, listening and speaking. The relationship between the three is so intertwined that the month of May has been designated as Better Speech and Hearing Month (BHSM).

In a recent poll, both speech therapists and audiologists identified excessive tech use as their number #1 concern. Speech therapists report a decline in communication and human interaction while audiologists claim loud volume damages our hearing.

Good news! Here are my recommendations:

  • Set reasonable parameters of tech times vs. tech-free time
  • Model balanced behavior by putting your cellphone/iPad away during dinner or playtime
  • Carve out quality time with your children. Reading and playing games are two easy and effective way to encourage language development and active listening.

Concerned about your child’s speech development?  Reach out to a Great Speech therapist and request a consultation

Worried that your child is having trouble hearing? Audiologist Dr. Leah Light shares four telltale signs. Ask yourself. “Does my child….?”

  • Need to look to hear
  • Accuse others of mumbling
  • Put the ear against sound sources like speakers or refrigerator
  • Say “What?” or “Huh?” repeatedly

My experience as a speech and language pathologist, I know that early intervention is the key for better speech, hearing and listening. Audiologists and speech and language therapists can work with babies, even newborns, to diagnose and treat for better hearing, better speech, better listening and ultimately, better communication.

 

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Gr8 Lessons for Bilingual Parents

There is a difference between language and speech. Language is unique to humans and is defined as the underlying system that allows humans to interact, share their ideas and thoughts. Language is divided into receptive language, aka understanding language and expressive language, the ability to express thoughts and ideas. Language is essential for cognition and academic development.

Speech, on the other hand, is the ability to coordinate complex system of breathing and articulation, using your tongue, lips and jaw to express language.

Bilingual Homes

Bilingual children are those exposed to another language from birth. That is different process than children who are exposed to one language at birth and then taught a second language later in life.

Lessons for Bilingual Parents

Raising bilingual children poses unique challenges. But probably the biggest challenge is one we all face. What is the best way to foster language development? The answer is to chat in the presence of your child from birth. Narrate your daily activities using short sentences: I’m washing dishes; Dad is cooking dinner. We are walking.

In a bilingual home, parents should speak to their children in the language in which they are most comfortable. The reason for this is that language conveys not only thoughts but also emotions. And emotion does not always present successfully in a second language. Also, it is preferable to model proper speech and grammar, a task at which not everyone excels.

It is also recommended not to mix two languages in one sentence. Though it is a natural tendency on our part, it is preferable to avoid the mix during the early language development stage.

Though raising bilingual children adds an additional chapter to the parenting manual, the benefits are Gr8!

If you can teach your child any language what language would it be?

FREE ONLINE SPEECH SESSION | SPEECH THERAPY ONLINE MADE EASY

Photo by moodboard

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Coping with a Speech Diagnosis: A Toolbox for Parents

Late bloomer or language problem?

Each child develops at an individual pace. Some children experience language delay. Other possible speech diagnoses included speech or language disorders.

Securing a speech diagnosis involves an evaluation by a licensed speech and language therapist. While the process will give you a definitive diagnosis and treatment options, parents may find this “toolbox” of suggestions helpful in successfully navigating this new experience.

  • Be curious. It is ok to request literature and ask questions about the diagnosis, type and frequency of speech therapy, estimated length of treatment as well as home exercises to reinforce treatment. Depending on the diagnosis, you may also want to request names of support groups in your area.
  • Explore your own feelings about the speech diagnosis. Sometimes the diagnosis is liberating, a reinforcement of a gut feeling you had. But even a minor speech issue can trigger feelings of inadequacy, anger, sadness or guilt. Those feelings are normal and sometimes just the acknowledgement is healing. Other times you may need to seek help from a family therapist.
  • Evaluate the diagnostic impact on your child. Sometimes a child is relieved to begin the process and address the issue. Other times, it is seen as a stigma. Find the right opportunity to explore your child’s feelings. Listening and validating are the key.
  • Observe family dynamics. Often a change in family dynamics, even a minor one, can trigger behavioral issues in the child or siblings. Anticipating a possible change is your best defense. Other parenting tools include maintaining consistency in routines, responsibilities and rules and consciously focusing on each family member’ strengths. Sometimes you can involve the whole family in the therapeutic process, though it is best to consult the therapist on best practices.

Most importantly, quality family time is essential for healthy social skills and language development. I am a big proponent of family dinners, outings and playing games as well as private time, both for couples and each child…because every interaction has infinite potential.

What has worked for you?

Photo by sean dreilinger

Sofia Robirosa is a Licensed Marriage and family therapist and owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services in Plantation, Florida. For more information, please visit her website

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The Power of the Pause

I recently received an inquiry from a well-meaning dad who was concerned about his son’s overuse of the phrase, “You know.”

You know how it goes. We tend to use phrases like “umm” “well like’ and “you know” either out of habit or because we lack the skill and ability to respond quickly. Often, we have been trained at an early age that being responsive is respectful or we may be uncertain or uncomfortable with silence. Filler words are part of our natural compulsion to fill the space and can be easily be corrected through speech therapy.

There are two places where filler words commonly appear, at the beginning of a statement and in between ideas. Next time you ask a friend or employee a question, observe their speech pattern. You might notice that their first reaction is to jump in and answer. And when proper wording eludes the speaker, the filler words pop out.

When we use filler words we are verbalizing our thought process. Armed with this information, it is easy to avoid using filler words:

The secret is to PAUSE.

Although we live in a fast-paced society that seemingly demands instant answers, we must use the pause to our advantage. We may feel pressure to answer right away, but ultimately, we should only speak when we are ready.

Back to the dad’s request. His request for services was a perfect referral for Great Speech…until we asked the age of the prospective client. Turns out “the child” was a 43-year old grown up who had no idea that his father was reaching out for clinical assistance. In this case, dad would be best sharing his observations with his son. Sometimes awareness is the best impetus for change.

FREE ONLINE SPEECH SESSION | SPEECH THERAPY ONLINE MADE EASY