Speech Disorder

What you need to know about speech and language disorders

Speech and language disorders can affect your child’s ability to talk, understand, read and write. These disorders have different causes and may range from a few speech sound errors or repetitions of sounds or words, to a total loss of the ability to use speech to communicate effectively.

What is a speech disorder?

Speech disorders are to do with speech clarity. Your child may have one of the following:

An articulation disorder 

This is difficulty with the way sounds are formed. For example, “road” may be said as “woad”, or distorting the /s/ sound eg. a lisp.

Phonological disorder

A child may miss sounds from the end or the beginning of a word, or may have a group or groups of incorrect sounds e.g. k and g sounds that should be formed at the back of the mouth are formed at the front of the mouth e.g. car is said as tar; or the child may have difficulty putting two sounds together in blends e.g. spoon said as poon or soon, or black said as back or lack.

Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

The child has difficulty planning the movements necessary to make sounds and to move from one sound to another within a word. Or they may be able to pronounce a single word correctly but longer sentences maybe difficult to understand.

Take a look at our checklist below, and see if any apply to your child.

Your child:

  • talks, but not clearly

  • is unintelligible

  • is misunderstood by others

  • leaves out sounds or parts of words

  • uses too few words or babbles

  • struggles to find the right word

  • confuses word order

  • is on the autistic spectrum

  • has speech that is not fluent

  • repeats sounds or words

  • shows difficulty processing information

  • has problems following instructions

  • is unable to recall information or retell a story easily

  • is developing language slowly or lagging behind

  • has a husky or strained voice

As many as 9% of children have some form of a speech disorder.

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