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Articulation Disorders: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Articulation disorders are speech difficulties that hinder an individual's ability to produce certain sounds correctly. These disorders can affect communication skills and social interactions, significantly impacting one's quality of life.

Fortunately, by understanding and addressing these disorders, you can often restore clear and confident communication. In this article, we’ll explore the types, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options for articulation disorders.

In this article we will discuss:

articulation disorders

Understanding the Causes of Stuttering

Stuttering is a multifactorial disorder with several contributing elements. By understanding the causes of your stutter, your speech-language pathologist (SLP) can determine the best

treatment for your particular case.

The most common causes of stuttering include:

● Genetic factors

● Neurological factors

● Environmental factors

● Developmental factors


Substitution occurs when one sound is replaced by another. For example, saying "wabbit"

instead of "rabbit" This type of disorder is common in young children as they develop their

speech and language skills. Substitution can hinder a child's ability to communicate effectively and may lead to misunderstandings in conversations.


Omission involves leaving out certain sounds in words, making speech difficult to understand. For instance, a child might say "nana" for "banana." This type of articulation disorder can significantly impact the clarity of speech. Omissions are particularly challenging because they can make it hard for listeners to understand the intended message, which can lead to frustration for the speaker.


Distortion refers to producing a sound in an unfamiliar manner, such as a lisping "s" that makes "sun" sound like "thun" Distorted sounds are often recognizable but not accurately produced. Distortion can make speech sound slurred or unclear, and it often requires specialized techniques to correct, as the individual must learn the precise movements needed to produce the correct sounds.


Addition occurs when an extra sound is inserted within a word, such as saying "buhlue" for "blue" This type of disorder can make speech sound unnatural and complicated to understand. Additions are less common than other types of articulation disorders, but they can be particularly noticeable and distracting in speech.

Address Articulation Disorders Today!

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Understanding the Causes of Articulation Disorders

Articulation disorders arise from various factors, each contributing uniquely to speech

difficulties. By identifying the underlying causes, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) can

determine the most effective treatment plan.

The common causes of articulation disorders include:

● Genetic factors

● Neurological conditions

● Structural abnormalities

● Developmental delays

● Environmental influences

Genetic Factors

Articulation disorders often run in families, indicating a strong genetic component. Studies show that individuals with a family history of speech difficulties are more likely to experience

articulation disorders themselves. Specific genetic mutations affecting neural development and functioning can predispose individuals to these disorders, although genetics alone do not cause them.

Neurological Conditions

Neurological studies have revealed differences in brain function among individuals with

articulation disorders. These differences are typically found in regions responsible for speech

production and language processing, such as Broca's area and the motor cortex. Neurological conditions like cerebral palsy or brain injuries can also affect the muscles used in speech, leading to articulation problems.

Structural Abnormalities

Physical abnormalities, such as cleft palate, dental issues, or tongue-tie, can impede proper

articulation. These structural issues often require medical or surgical intervention to correct and improve speech production.

Developmental Delays

Some children develop speech sounds at a slower rate than their peers, resulting in articulation disorders. Developmental delays can be due to a lack of exposure to language, hearing impairments, or other developmental issues.

Environmental Influences

Environmental factors, especially during early childhood, can trigger or exacerbate articulation disorders. High parental expectations, fast-paced questioning, stressful speaking environments, and frequent interruptions can contribute to speech difficulties. Additionally, significant life changes, such as starting school, can impact a child's speech development.

online speech therapy for articulation disorder

Identifying the Symptoms of Articulation Disorders

Recognizing the symptoms of articulation disorders is crucial for early diagnosis and

intervention. Common symptoms include unintelligible speech, frequent mispronunciations,

frustration with communication, and inconsistency in sound production.

Individuals with articulation disorders may exhibit the following characteristics:

● Unintelligible speech

● Frequent mispronunciations

● Frustration with communication

● Inconsistent sound production

If you or someone you know is demonstrating these symptoms, it’s important to seek

professional evaluation as soon as possible. Early intervention has been shown to significantly improve the efficiency of treatment, and this begins with the proactive identification of these


stuttering therapy

Seeking Treatment for Articulation Disorders

Speech therapy is the cornerstone of treatment for articulation disorders. Speech-language

pathologists (SLPs) employ several techniques to help individuals speak more clearly and


Some of the most effective speech therapy methods for articulation disorders include:

● Phonetic placement therapy

● Auditory discrimination training

● Corrective feedback

Phonetic Placement Therapy

This technique involves teaching individuals how to position their tongue, lips, and jaw to

produce specific sounds correctly. It includes visual and tactile cues to help individuals

understand the proper placement of their articulators.

Auditory Discrimination Training

This method helps individuals differentiate between correct and incorrect sound productions. It enhances their ability to recognize and produce the correct sounds through listening and practice.

Corrective Feedback

SLPs provide immediate feedback on speech errors and guide individuals in making the

necessary adjustments to improve their articulation. Repetitive practice and positive

reinforcement are essential components of this technique.

Getting Started with Speech Therapy for Articulation Disorders

Articulation disorders can significantly impact communication and quality of life, but with early detection and appropriate intervention, individuals can achieve substantial improvements. If you suspect an articulation disorder is affecting yourself or a loved one, get in touch with a speech-language pathologist at Better Speech.

At Better Speech, we offer comprehensive online speech therapy tailored to meet your unique needs. Our experienced speech-language pathologists are here to help you navigate your journey toward more fluent speech. Contact Better Speech today to schedule a consultation and start your path to clear and confident communication.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can articulation disorders be outgrown or will they persist into adulthood?

Articulation disorders often begin in early childhood, and many children outgrow them as they develop their speech and language skills. However, for some, these disorders can persist into adulthood. Early intervention with speech therapy can increase the likelihood of overcoming articulation disorders.

Are there any medications available to treat articulation disorders?

How can parents support a child with an articulation disorder?

Does stress or anxiety cause articulation disorders?

Can bilingualism affect articulation disorders?


About the Author

social pragmatic writer

Aycen Zambuto

I’m a seasoned educator in speech therapy with over six years of experience helping people navigate challenges in communication. Throughout this time, I’ve found joy in guiding individuals through a variety of therapeutic journeys, from toddlers with apraxia to seniors with dysphonia.

I’m passionate about demystifying this complex world of speech therapy and helping readers around the globe achieve clear and effective communication. When I’m not writing about speech, you’ll often find me reading, traveling or spending time with friends and family.



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