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Phonological Disorders

A young child may be using immature patterns for speech sound “families”.  The child has learned a speech rule for producing sounds, but it is not the correct rule.  In a phonological process disorder, the child often uses several rules incorrectly.


When a child has a phonological process disorder, the SLP works on speech “families” by teaching how to use the right rule across several phonemes.  This makes therapy go faster.



·   A child produces tongue back sounds (in the words game, go, can)  with the front of his tongue.  The above words may be pronounced incorrectly as:  dame, dough, tan. 

·   A child is leaving off the /s/ sound when he produces words containing /s/ blends.  This is a very common phonological disorder called “Consonant Cluster Reduction”.    When the child tries to say “spider”, he says “pider”.  The SLP initially teaches the child how to produce the /s/ then works on adding it to the beginnings of words such as spoon, skate, star, sneeze, small.

Tips for families:

If your child has a phonological disorder, speech therapy that addresses "processes" (rather than individual speech sounds) is the way to go.

An example of a phonological "process" that may be treated with huge improvements in intelligibility is consonant cluster reduction.

In many cases, all your child has to learn  one rule:  To add the /s/ before he says words such as stop, sweet, smell, school, snow, sleep.  The English language is full of words with s-blends.  Once your child learns this rule, her speech will be dramatically improved.

Be sure to obtain an evaluation and treatment by an ASHA certified SLP.

Still have questions? Please contact us.


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