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Speech Sound Disorders


What are Speech Sound Disorders (SSDs)? 

Speech sound disorders is an umbrella term referring to any difficulty or combination of difficulties with perception, motor production, or phonological representation of speech sounds and speech segments—including phonotactic rules governing permissible speech sound sequences in a language.

What are some signs and symptoms of SSDs? 

  • Omissions/deletions—certain sounds are omitted or deleted (e.g., "cu" for "cup" and "poon" for "spoon")

  • Substitutions—one or more sounds are substituted, which may result in loss of phonemic contrast (e.g., "thing" for "sing" and "wabbit" for "rabbit")

  • Additions—one or more extra sounds are added or inserted into a word (e.g., "buhlack" for "black")

  • Distortions—sounds are altered or changed (e.g., a lateral "s")

  • Syllable-level errors—weak syllables are deleted (e.g., "tephone" for "telephone")

Signs and symptoms may occur as independent articulation errors or as phonological rule-based error patterns. In addition to these common rule-based error patterns, idiosyncratic error patterns can also occur. For example, a child might substitute many sounds with a favorite or default sound, resulting in a considerable number of homonyms (e.g., shore, sore, chore, and tore might all be pronounced as door; Grunwell, 1987; Williams, 2003a). 

What effect do SSDs have on my child’s speech? 

SSDs can significantly decrease the clarity of speech resulting in people not being able to understand what your child is saying. This can cause frustration to the child or their communication partner. In addition, your child might become shy or withdrawn, or even reluctant to raise their hand at school or share stories with their peers. 

What is the common treatment of SSDs?

Thorough assessment and differential evaluation of your child’s speech sound disorders is important. During our differential diagnosis, the root cause of your child’s speech sound difficulties are discovered. Based on the root cause of the difficulties, treatment can be initiated as an articulation treatment, phonological treatment, motor based planning and programming treatments,  orofacial myofunctional treatments or a combination of these treatments. 


My child has been in speech therapy for years with no improvements. How do I know that your treatment will be successful? 

Often, we have other SLPs and professionals referring their clients to our private practice because their clients have been in therapy for years with limited progress. Often, we discover that previous therapy was only targeting the symptoms of the speech sound disorder and not the root cause, resulting in limited progress and years in speech therapy. 
We always strive to discover the root cause of your child’s speech sound disorders via conducting a thorough assessment and differential diagnosis. Once the root causes of your child’s difficulties are discovered, an individualized evidence-based therapy approach is created. Through our treatment, we continue an ongoing diagnosis to ensure the treatment is successful and the child is making desired progress. 

Free Resources:

Speech Sound Disorders -ASHA

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