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    The articulation of speech sounds refers to how we use our oral-motor structures to produce various sounds.  Children with articulation disorders often distort, substitute, leave off, or change specific sounds.  These types of sound production errors can significantly impact the overall quality of speech and make it difficult to understand.
    The most common articulation errors can be summarized in the following categories:

    Omissions:  This class of articulation errors refers to when sounds are left off or deleted from words.  (e.g. “ca” for “cat”)

    Substitutions: An articulation error is classified as a substitution if a child is changing a sound to an easier sound to produce. Some of the common substitutions include “w” for “r” and “l” (wabbit/rabbit, wamp/lamp), “f” and “d” for “th (fing/thing, dis/this), and “th” for “s” (thun/sun).  Some speech sound substitutions are typical before a specific age and as such are considered “developmentally appropriate”.

    Distortions: These sound errors are never considered typical to make, they are errors in production.   For example, a lateral lisp is considered a distortion because it does not sound like any other sounds and is characterized by air escaping out the sides of the mouth making it sound slushy.  Distortions affect the quality of a sound making it, and subsequently the word it’s attached to, difficult to understand.


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