A very common query that bothers parents is if their child’s articulation disorder can be fixed or not. Yes, with a detailed assessment, timely diagnosis, and intensive intervention, articulation disorders are one type of speech and language disorder that can be cured.
Therefore, if you notice that
Your child is having difficulty speaking clearly,
If it’s difficult to understand what they are saying, or
If their speech doesn’t seem to be improving, then you must visit a speech-language pathologist.
An SLP specializes in aiding the child with speech and language disorders, social communication, cognitive development, swallowing disorders, and much more.
Before jumping on to the cure or treatment of articulation disorder, it’s better to understand how articulation disorders are diagnosed.
How are articulation disorders diagnosed?
If your child has a speech or language disorder, your doctor will conduct a physical and hearing examination. If your child doesn’t have hearing loss, they will refer you to a speech-language pathologist (SLP). An SLP specializes in speech, language, and communication disorders. By various methods an SLP will assess whether the speech issues your child presents with are a part of their normal development, or, is due to some speech sound disorder. An SLP can evaluate your child by -
observing the child’s speech during a conversation.
asking the child to imitate certain sounds and say specific words.
looking for any oral deficits like cleft palate or cleft tongue, that may be contributing to the articulation disorder.
asking you regarding your child’s medical history, like premature birth, prenatal history, or recurrent ear infections.
discussing if anyone else in your family has any speech-language disorder.
watching how the child uses his tongue, lips, and oral muscles during speech.
Sometimes, an SLP may use a grading system to assess the severity of the articulation disorder, and formulate a treatment plan for your child. The frequency of treatment sessions depends, on the severity of the articulation disorder a child presents with.
How long does it take to correct an articulation disorder?
It usually takes around 15-20 hours of therapy to correct these types of speech and language disorders. Sometimes a child may need only 2 sessions per week for a few months, and for some people, therapy may even last for a year or two. The sessions are usually planned as per the severity and complexity of the challenges each child faces.
Do speech therapists treat articulation disorders?
Speech-language pathologists play a very important role in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of a person with speech sound disorder. They-
help in diagnosing the presence or absence of a speech sound disorder.
formulate special plans for the child diagnosed with speech sound disorder as per their needs.
help the child learn how to produce correct speech sounds in a sentence, often during activities that involve playing. They show the child how to use their tongue and muscles to produce the sound, for instance when saying ‘r’, they show the child how to roll the tongue.
work through various levels, starting with producing certain sounds in isolation and gradually increasing the levels, until the child learns to use the speech sound in a regular conversation.
raise awareness regarding the role of genetics in a speech sound disorder.
counsel the family and caregiver of the child diagnosed with a speech sound disorder regarding the complications associated with the condition and how to overcome the communication issues due to the disorder.
promote the prevention of such disorders among individuals and groups at risk.
are an integral part of the team that works with those diagnosed with speech sound disorder and their family or caregivers.
Can you improve articulation as an adult?
Apart from the sessions with your speech-language pathologist, you can improve your articulation at home by performing a few activities and exercises. Practice and repetition are very important when it comes to improving an articulation disorder. A few activities that can help you improve articulation are-
Reading aloud to yourself can help you monitor your pace and help you pronounce the words correctly.
Listen to your speech, now this sounds pretty similar to the activity mentioned above. But here you record yourself speaking and then play it back. It can help you understand the errors you make and you can focus on improving them.
Speak confidently! I am sure most of us have stuttered or pronounced some words wrong in an interview or a stressful situation. Sometimes it happens because of a lack of confidence. So whenever you speak, try keeping your chin parallel to the ground, and sit with your back straight, as posture can boost your confidence too.
Study others, this works when you know what error you make. Try listening to how the other person uses his or her mouth to pronounce certain words and try to imitate that.
How can I help my child with articulation disorder?
Articulation disorder is one of the speech and language disorders that can be treated with timely intervention. Apart from sessions with your SLP, you can help your child improve their speech at home by doing a few activities. Your SLP will provide you with a list of words your child needs to improve, and, along with it they also tell you a few exercises that your child can perform at home.
Few tips to make articulation easier at home-
Establish a routine- make sure you have a routine of practicing articulation, for instance, practice articulation for 10 minutes during breakfast, at playtime, or before bed.
Keep it short- If you practice articulation three times a week, for 10 to 15 minutes, you are significantly helping your child improve.
Make it fun- you knew this was gonna be a tip, as we are talking about kids here. Make sure you incorporate articulation activities in something they enjoy. Don’t push them too hard to try when they seem frustrated.
Talk to a specialist- it can be very helpful to understand articulation better. It helps you understand your child’s needs better and have a better approach to helping them with articulation.
A few things you can do to help your child with articulation are-
Practice targeted sounds or words- your child’s speech-language pathologist provides you with a list of sounds that they are working at in therapy, they will change the list every few weeks. You can help your child practice those sounds at home as well by incorporating them into fun activities.
Correct them gently when they say something wrong. It helps them stay motivated at trying. If you get angry when they make a mistake, they may get scared and stop trying altogether.
Incorporate the target sound in your conversation. When you talk to your child or play with them, try to enunciate the target sound.
Reading to them is a very nice way to help your child improve their articulation. After all, it is how we learn to speak, right? Reading their favorite book or a bedtime story can make it easier for you to show them how to produce speech sounds, and they can also observe your lips and try imitating you. Make sure you pronounce the words correctly when you read to them.
If your child likes to read themselves, encourage them to read a few lines or passages out loud once a day.
Explain articulation to them, if your child is at an age where they can understand speech production. Try explaining how to use their lips, tongue, and oral muscles correctly to produce speech sounds. For instance, you can say ‘let’s try putting our lips together for the “p” sound.
I cannot stress it enough, your child can overcome an articulation disorder with regular practice, daily revision, and your support. So kindly give your child the time, love, and attention they need to thrive and overcome the challenge.
Sounderic provides online speech therapy sessions for children with stuttering/stammering or any fluency disorder. We would love to help you. Get in touch with us on WhatsApp at +919644466635 or schedule a consultation with us at https://www.sounderic.com/service-page/stuttering-fluency-disorder-therapy