Speech Sound Assessments

Speech sound assessments are indicated when a child or adult has difficulty with articulation (making sounds) and phonological disorders (sound patterns). Difficulty making sounds is described as an articulation disorder. Sounds can be left off, added, changed or substituted.

In young children, for example, a “w” sound is often substituted for an “r.” Sounds may be left out like “nana” for “banana.” If these errors continue past the expected age, the child may have an articulation disorder.

Adults can also have speech sound disorders. These may be articulation disorders never corrected from childhood, or be the result of head injury or stroke.

Phonological process disorder occurs when there are patterns of sound errors.  For example, substituting all sounds from the back of the mouth like “g,” for those made in the front of the mouth like “d.” The result is “das” instead of “gas.”

Children also leave sounds out of a word. For example the word spoon sounds like “poon.” This is common in young children, but if it continues as they get older, they may have a phonological process disorder.

Some speech errors result from problems such as:

  • Hearing loss
  • Neurological disorders
  • Autism
  • Down syndrome
  • Illness

Children who experienced multiple ear infections are also at risk for speech sound disorders if they developed hearing loss.

A speech-language pathologist (SLP) evaluates children and adults with speech language difficulties.  Formal articulation tests may be used to record sound error.  An oral examination is done to determine the muscles around the mouth are working properly.  The SLP may recommend speech therapy if the sound is not appropriate to the child’s age.

For more  information on speech sound assessments in your area, contact a registered speech-language pathologist.

Specific Techniques


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