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Speech Sounds

Some children may say sounds the wrong way as they learn to talk. They learn some sounds earlier, like b, m, p. Other sounds take longer to learn, like r or th. Most children can say almost all speech sounds correctly by 4 years old. A child who does not say sounds by the expected ages may have a speech sound disorder. You may hear the terms “articulation disorder” and “phonological disorder” to describe speech sound disorders like this.

In addition, a child may have oral motor difficulties that cause speech sound disorders. SLPs can help your child pay closer attention to their mouth and facial movements, know where their tongue and mouth muscles are when they speak, and say sounds more clearly.

A child could also have Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). In order for speech to occur, messages need to go from your brain to your mouth. These messages tell the muscles how and when to move to make sounds. When a child has apraxia of speech, the messages do not get through correctly. The child might not be able to move their lips or tongue in the right ways, even though their muscles are not weak. Sometimes, the child might not be able to say much at all. A child with CAS knows what they want to say. The problem is not how the child thinks but how the brain tells the mouth muscles to move.