Speech Therapy - Pediatric

Articulation Disorder

An articulation disorder occurs when there is a failure to move and coordinate the articulators (e.g., cheeks, lips, tongue, etc.) to produce some speech sounds. When these articulators are not working properly, are weak, damaged or simply out of sync with each other, an articulation disorder may occur. This has an impact on speech intelligibility.

Phonological Disorder

Phonology is rules of the sound system of language. These rules oversee speech sounds, including the production and combination of these sounds into intelligible speech. When a rule is broken, it may result in one of many phonological processes. For example: "fronting" happens when a sounds (like /k/) that is produced in the back of the mouth "breaks the rules" moves to the front making "cat" into "tat." Another example is "stopping" which happens when a sound that only lets a little air escape when following the rules (like /s/) acts up and stops, becoming /t/ like "tope" for "soap." (Keri Spielvogle, M.C.D., CCC-SLP)

Developmental Apraxia of Speech

"Development apraxia of speech (DAS) is a disorder of the nervous system that affects the ability to sequence and say sounds, syllables, and words. It is not due to muscular weakness or paralysis. The problem is in the brain's planning to move the body parts needed for speech (e.g., lips, jaw, tongue). The child knows what he or she wants to say, but the brain is not sending the correct instructions to move the body parts of speech the way they need to be moved. There is no known cause of the disorder. (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association - ASHA).


"Language is a code that we learn to use in order to communicate ideas and express our wants and needs. Reading, writing, speaking, and some gesture systems are all forms or language." (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association - ASHA).

Several areas make up language:

  • Pragmatics: effective use of language in social settings
  • Semantics: word and sentence meaning
  • Syntax: sentence formation and word order
  • Morphology: word parts that indicate grammatical meaning (e.g., -s, -ed, -ness, -un, -'s, -er, -ing, -ful).

How is Language Learned?

Children learn language and speech by listening to language around them and practicing what they hear. In this way, they figure out the rules of the language code. It is not learned all at once but in stages over time. (ASHA)

Typical Language Development Chart

What Causes a Language Disorder?

Language disorders can be caused by neurological disorders, hearing impairments, developmental delays, etc. However, in many cases the cause is unknown.

What is Stuttering?

Stuttering is a communication disorder in which the flow of speech is broken by repetitions (li-li-like this), prolongations (lllllike this), or abnormal stoppages (no sound) of sounds and syllables. There may also be unusual facial and body movements associated with the effort to speak. Although there is no certain cause, stuttering is likely caused by a combination of several factors, including genetics, neurology, language development and family dynamics.

  • 1% of Americans stutter
  • 4 times more males than females stutter
  • Early intervention is key
  • Stuttering is often life-long, however tools can be taught to help lessen disfluencies

Should I be Concerned About My Child's Stuttering?

Many children experience typical or normal disfluencies during periods of high language development. Normal disfluencies include one or two repetitions (e.g., "I -- I want to go") and interjections/fillers (e.g., uh, er, etc.)

Additional Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Stuttering Foundation

10123 SE Market St, Portland, OR 97216(503) 257-2500