Articulation Therapy for Children

Articulation is the process of producing speech sounds. Different sounds develop in children’s speech at different times. An articulation delay is when a child cannot produce a sound correctly that is typically acquired by their age. An articulation disorder is when a child produces a sound in error that is not typically seen in normally developing children.


Your therapist will assess which sounds your child may be struggling with, as well as evaluate what positions of words the errors exist, and what, if any, substitutions or distortions are being made. We will assess the speech errors to evaluate if they are developmentally appropriate.


Treatment involves teaching children how to physically produce individual sounds correctly. The SLP systematically practices these new motor patterns in succession of difficulty:

  • Isolation: /t/
  • Syllables: /ta/ /to/ /at/ /ot/
  • Words: “two”, “eat”, “otter”
  • Phrases: “I see a tiger”
  • Sentences: “The tiger is big”
  • Conversation: Using proper sounds in spontaneous speech
  • Generalization: Using proper sounds in daily life

The chart below shows the ages at which most English-speaking children develop sounds. Children learning more than one language may develop some sounds earlier or later.

By 3 MonthsMakes cooing sounds
By 5 MonthsLaughs and makes playful sounds
By 6 MonthsMakes speech like babbling sounds like puh, ba, mi, da
By 1 YearBabbles longer strings of sounds like mimi, upup, bababa
By 3 YearsSays m, n, h, w, p, b, t, d, k, g, and f in words
Familiar people understand the child’s speech
By 4 YearsSays y and v in words
May still make mistakes on the s, sh, ch, j, ng, th, z, l, and r sounds
Most people understand the child’s speech

*Chart provided by ASHA

Error types:

There are four different articulation error types: Substitutions, Omissions, Distortions and Additions.

  • Substitutions mean that one sound is replicated with another sound. For example, ‘w’ is substituted for ‘r,’ so ‘rabbit’ sounds like ‘wabbit.’
  • Omissions mean that a sound in the word is omitted. For example, ‘web’ becomes ‘we’.
  • Distortions mean that a sound is produced in an inaccurate manner. Lisp sounds are an example of this error. For example, ‘sun’ becomes ‘thun’.
  • Additions mean that an extra sound is inserted. For example, ‘blueberry becomes ‘buhlueberry’.

Phonology Therapy

Phonological processes are changes in speech that typically developing children make to groups of sounds. They involve the way the brain organizes and processes sounds. Phonological errors are a very normal part of learning to speak. When children continue to make these errors beyond the expected age, the phonological processes become problematic. Phonological processes include:

  • Cluster Reduction (pot for spot)
  • Reduplication (wawa for water)
  • Weak Syllable Deletion (nana for banana)
  • Final Consonant Deletion (do for doll)
  • Fronting (tup for cup and dough for go)
  • Backing (koo for two and gip for dip)
  • Stopping (replacing long sounds (fricatives) like /s/ with short sounds (stops) like /t/)
  • Assimilation (changing consonants to be more like other consonants in a word, like gog for dog)

Most children stop using these processes on their own. Some children, however, require speech therapy to correct the errors. Here is a guide of when many phonological processes should no longer be used:

  • Assimilation ~ 3 years
  • Final Consonant Deletion ~ 3 years
  • Unstressed Syllable Deletion ~ 3 years
  • Reduplication ~ 3 years
  • Velar Fronting ~ 4 years
  • Stopping of Fricatives ~ 4 years
  • Cluster Reduction (without /s/) ~ 4 years
  • Cluster Reduction (with /s/) ~ 5 years

*Information via Linguisystems Milestone Guide

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is a motor speech disorder. This disorder first becomes noticeable as a young child is learning to speak. For reasons not yet fully understood, children with apraxia of speech have significant difficulty planning, coordinating, and producing the specific series of movements necessary for intelligible speech.

Speech Therapy for Adults

PROactive Speech Therapy & Accent Modification assists adults in correcting specific articulation difficulties (such as lisps or /r/ distortions) as well as improving enunciation. Most adults remediate speech sound difficulties with speech and language therapy during childhood, however, if problems are either not identified in childhood or persist into adulthood, significant impacts on social and personal satisfaction can result.

Speech therapy can help you fix this, it is NEVER too late!

Articulation disorders in adulthood can:

  • Interfere with social participation
  • Affect academic achievement
  • Impact occupational performance and potential career advancement

Treatment for Speech Sound Disorders

PROactive Speech Therapy can help you or your child produce sounds correctly and clearly.

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