Home  >>  Write  >>  Health  >>  Dentistry  >>  Oral Surgery  >>  Speech Therapy  >>  Articulation



Communication is our ability to send and receive messages. Communication can involve speaking, listening, gesture, body language, facial expression, writing and drawing. Communication disorders can influence our ability to effectively interact and convey messages.

The most noticeable speech problem involves difficulty with articulation, such as lisping (e.g. pronouncing soup as ‘thoup’). There are, however, many different types of communication problems. Difficulties may be identified in articulation, language, fluency, voice, resonance and hearing.

Our ability to produce speech sounds is described as articulation. Problems associated specifically with speech sound production are considered articulation deficits. A lisp would be considered one type of articulation problem. Children having difficulty with articulation may be identified by others as having speech that is difficult to understand. Articulation problems can occur for a variety of reasons including:

  • motor coordination or sequencing problems,
  • hearing problems,
  • structural problems, such as cleft palate.

A language involves the use of a complex set of symbols (i.e. words, word parts, speech sounds). We learn the rules for using such symbols. Anything that gets in the way of allowing a child to learn those symbols and rules can create a language delay or disorder. Typically a delay is considered if the child's language is developing more slowly than usual. A language disorder presents when a child's language is not following the usual path of development. Both a language delay and language disorder may include the following symptoms:

  • difficulty understanding questions and instructions
  • difficulty processing language in noisy environments
  • limited and/or slow development of vocabulary knowledge
  • difficulty understanding concepts of location, quantity or time
  • delay in using the "little words" in sentences such as "the", "his", "in"
  • not using prepositions, plurals, pronouns
  • difficulty describing information or telling stories
  • articulation which is slow to develop and difficult to understand

Fluency is the ability to make our speech flow smoothly. When fluency is disrupted it is often referred to as "stuttering". The child may tend to repeat the first sound of a word or an entire word, may prolong a sound, or may experience a complete block in the ability to speak. All of us do experience dysfluency in our speech on occasion, especially when we are tired or nervous. This is particularly true for children ages 3 to 6 years, as they often pass through a period of normal dysfluency. Stuttering, however, can continue to occur with such intensity and frequency that spoken efforts become very frustrating, significantly interfering with the desire to communicate a spoken message. It is suspected there are many factors precipitating stuttering, yet a specific cause is still unknown.