The receiver of communication must understand the sounds of the words spoken to understand the full message. If speech sounds are incorrectly produced, one sound might be confused with another, either changing the meaning of the message or yielding no meaning. When speech is abnormal, it is unintelligible, is unpleasant, or interferes with communication (Bemthal & Bankson, 2004; Hall, Oyer, & Haas, 2001). Speech impairments include three major types of problems: difficulties with articulation, fluency, and voice. Problems with any one of these speech impairments are distracting to the listener and can negatively affect or interrupt the communication process.
The most common speech impairment, articulation problems, exists when the process of producing speech sounds is flawed, and the resulting speech sounds are incorrect. Some individuals have no physiological reason for their articulation difficulties. Others correctly articulate a sound when it occurs in one position in words but not in other positions. They may be able to pronounce a sound consistently without errors when it occurs at the beginning of a word but cannot do so when the sound occurs in the middle or at the end of a word. The tble below describes the four kinds of articulation errors, but as you read about them, remember that articulation is related to the speaker's age, culture, and environment. For example, a young child's errors may be developmentally correct, whereas the same speech product made by an older child may well reflect an articulation problem. The difference could also be due to regional speech patterns, foreign language accents, or cultural speech preferences, but none of these speech differences reflects a speech impairment. Regional differences in speech—dialects—do not need attention from an SLP.
Four Kinds of Articulation Errors
|Omission||A sound or group of sounds is left out of a word. Small children often leave off the ending of a word (sounds in the final position).||Intended: I want a banana.
Omission: I wanna banana
|Substitution||A common misarticulation among small children; one sound is used for another.||
Intended: I see the rabbit.
|Distortion||A variation of the intended sound is produced in an unfamiliar manner.||Intended: Give the pencil to Sally.
Distortion: Give the pencil to Sally. (the /p/ is nasalized).
|Addition||An extra sound is inserted or added to one already correctly produced.||Intended: I miss her.
Addition: I missid her.
© ______ 2007, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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