An articulation disorder is when speech sounds are mispronounced by adding, substituting, distorting or omitting sounds that make speech difficult to comprehend. There are therapies and exercises to help minimize or alleviate such problems and frequent practice is necessary to make the treatment successful.
Articulation Disorder – Nature and Causes
In children, articulation disorder may be developmental in nature. Children are prone to misarticulate in their early years and clarity in speech is expected to mature by the age of 7 or 8. When the condition persists even after this period, you may need to diagnose the reason for such a problem. A child develops the way to pronounce consonants in varying periods of life, like for example, ‘th’ sound as in thumb is one of the latest to develop. Monitoring the child on a regular basis identifies the cause of articulation disorder. Some medical conditions that cause such a condition include cleft palate, hearing loss, brain damage, strokes or head trauma. Receiving the right kind of treatment is necessary to combat this disorder. Treating the condition can be done using effective therapies and exercises, which need to be consistently drilled down to produce positive results.
Articulation Therapy – Approach and Methodology
A typical articulation therapy comprises of drill exercises and cues to enable the child to rectify his sound productions. Such cues can be verbal where the child is told where to place tongue, visual where the child looks at the mouth of the therapist or in the mirror or even tactile where the child places finger where sound is made. There are specific areas that are checked and articulation therapy administered in a child suspected to have such a disorder. The therapist may check if the child can be stimulated, i.e. if he is able to directly imitate the sound made by the therapist or caregiver. Therapy involves sound elicitation where a word is broken down into various sound components to help pronounce it in the right way. Sound is also practiced in isolation where a sound is independently made to practice without addition of a vowel. Gradually, sound is practiced in syllables, words, sentences and stories and finally in a conversation.
Articulation Exercises – For Speech Clarity
There are many types of articulation exercises to promote clarity in speech. Speech imperfection can be rectified by speaking slowly and meticulously and more importantly, regular practice is very importance. Consistent practice strengthens articulatory organs by developing body and facial muscles. Articulation is done for different letters distinctly and especially for letters that are usually mispronounced the most like ‘D’, ‘S’, ‘B’, ‘F’, ‘H’, ‘J’, ‘K’, ‘L’, ‘R’ and ‘T’. Exercises to remove speech imperfections are better to begin early and it should be made fun and playful for kids, they tend to be more inclined towards it without considering it a chore. Noticing mouth and tongue movement while talking and imitating sound are the foundations of a good exercise routine.