Speech Sound Disorders

Speech sound disorders is an umbrella term referring to difficulty with motor production or phonological representation of speech sounds (ASHA, n.d.). A child with a speech sound disorder may struggle to say certain sounds in isolation or in words. Additionally, a child with speech sound disorders may be more difficult to understand, especially for family and friends. Speech-language pathologists diagnose speech sound disorders by assessing the sounds a child can/cannot say during a formal articulation assessment.

There are three types of Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation Disorder, Phonological Disorder, and Motor Speech Disorder (Childhood Apraxia of Speech or Dysarthria).

  1. Articulation disorder: impacts the motor aspects of speaking. For example, the child will have difficulty saying one sound in isolation.
  2. Phonological disorder: impacts the linguistics aspects of speaking. For example, the child has the ability to say one sound in isolation but will inappropriately use the sound in words and conversation.
  3. Motor speech disorder: impacts the child’s ability to motor plan and/or motor execute during speaking. It is characterized by childhood apraxia of speech and dysarthria.
  4. Childhood Apraxia of Speech impacts the motor planning of speaking. The child may struggle with the movement required between sounds, syllables, and words.
  5. Dysarthria impacts the motor execution of speaking.

It is important to note that a child may present with a mixed speech sound disorder. Therapy needs to be individualized to the child to help target speech sound errors.

Treatment for speech sound disorders may look like:

  1. Learning the correct way to make sounds
  2. Learning to tell when sounds are right or wrong
  3. Practicing sounds in different words
  4. Practicing sounds in longer sentences

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your child’s speech, please reach out to a speech-language pathologist.

Resources for families:




-Samantha Graffius, M.S., CCC-SLP


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.) Speech Sound Disorders: Articulation and phonology. Retrieved February 28, 2022 from https://www.asha.org/practice-portal/clinical-topics/articulation-and-phonology