Articulation refers to the production of speech sounds. An individual with an articulation delay or disorder can be hard to understand because they produce sounds incorrectly. He may substitute one sound for another, e.g., "I like wed"' for "I like red" and/or distort the sound so it is still recognizable as the same sound but sounds different. For example, a person with a lateral lisp will produce a "s" which sounds slushy but is still an "s".

Every language has its own rules about how sounds can be combined. If a child does not use the rules for his language but develops his own, he may have a phonological disorder. In this case, classes of sounds, rather than single sounds are affected. For example, the child may have his own rule for sounds produced at the back of the mouth (/k/ and /g/) in which he will produce them all at the front of his mouth. Therefore, he may say "tey" for "key" and "doose" for "goose".

Sounds are classified in three ways: where they are produced in the mouth (place), how they are produced (manner), and whether the sound is voiced (voice). A phonological process is an unusual rule that is being used and changes the place, manner, or voice of a group of sounds. Some phonological processes are stopping, gliding, fronting, backing, devoicing and consonant cluster reduction.

Both children and adults can have articulation difficulties. A speech-language assessment will determine whether treatment is required and will help to develop appropriate therapy goals.

Please contact Speech Solutions to set up a free telephone consultation to discuss an assessment and possible treatment options. You may also be eligible to receive financial coverage through your extended health care insurance provider.