articulation disorders

Speech Matters May 2011

Speak Well, Hear Well, Live Well”:  May is Speech and Hearing Month


Speech Matters

by Cheryl D. Lindsay M.S. S-LP

The month of May has been designated by the Canadian Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists, (CASLPA), as Speech and Hearing Awareness Month.

“One out of ten Canadians lives with a serious communication disorder.” (Source: )

The goal for speech-language pathologists and audiologists is to enhance one’s quality of life by improving communication skills.

It is important that speech and hearing problems be identified as early as possible. In the past few years, and again this year, free speech and hearing screenings are being offered at the Early Years Centre, in Hanover, (ph. 519-376-8088).

A speech-language pathologist, (S-LP), is able to help assess, diagnose and treat many aspects of disordered communication. These include:

  • Voice:  clarity, volume, pitch, hoarseness
  • Articulation, or, how sounds are produced
  • Receptive language, or, understanding
  • Expressive language, or speaking
  • Swallowing
  • Dysfluency or stuttering
  • Respiration
  • Apraxia or motor planning
  • Phonological processing

An SLP, as part of a health care team, is also able to help people who have communication challenges as part of, or, in conjunction with, other diagnoses such as:  

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder, (ASD)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  •  Down syndrome
  •  Pierre-Robin Syndrome
  • Acquired Brain Injury, (ABI)
  • Central Auditory Processing Disorder
  • Cleft palate
  • Cerebral Palsy

Communication delays or disorders that affect children in infancy to preschool years, may have consequences that affect success in school, both socially and academically. Early identification and treatment can be critical to a child’s success.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your, or a family member’s communication, speech language pathologists and audiologists are here to help. To find a qualified professional in your area, visit

(Next Month: Taking care of your voice)

Speech Matters-April 2010

By Cheryl D. Lindsay, M.S. SLP

 Enriching lives by improving communication skills is the overall goal of professionals helping those with speech, language and hearing issues. In Canada, 10% of the population has a problem with one or all of these. (Source:

 Speech-language pathologists, and their supportive personnel work in a variety of settings to meet the needs of their clients.  Some of these settings include private practice, schools and preschools, hospitals, health units, and research centres.

 Speech-language pathologists are an integral part of a health care team. Their work in various settings and with many unique clients, brings them together with physicians, psychologists, teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists.  This cooperation and communication ensures that the patient’s best interests are put first when it comes to supporting development and disorders of speech.

 Communication disorders can be experienced by adults as well as children. Speech-language pathologists, also commonly referred to as “speech therapists”, can diagnose and treat articulation disorders, voice problems, disfluency, language difficulties and swallowing issues. Adults may experience some of these problems as a result of a head injury or stroke.

 An articulation disorder refers to difficulty producing sounds. Someone with an articulation disorder may substitute /t/ for /k/ and therefore, may say /tite/ but mean to say /kite/. Another common substitution is /w/ for /r/, so that the word /rat/ sounds like /wat/. Articulation disorders may include substitutions as above, or omissions or distortions of sounds.

 Voice problems may present as difficulties with hoarseness, pitch or volume and can be the result of vocal cord injury, dysfunction or disease.

 Disfluency, more commonly known as stuttering, can be identified as hesitations, syllable or word repetitions or restarts. Childhood disfluency differs from disfluency in adulthood.  Children often outgrow disfluency but it can sometimes result in long term stuttering.  Stuttering may not onset until adulthood.

 In general, language disorders can be categorized as either receptive or expressive. Receptive disorders refer to problems understanding or processing what is heard. Expressive disorders include problems putting words together in speech, in an appropriate form, so that thoughts are verbalized in a way that listeners can understand.  

 Speech-language pathologists can also assist people who have problems with swallowing and eating.  These problems can be the result of congenital or acquired diseases or disorders.

 In addition to assessments and therapy, research, public education and public awareness are also very important aspects of the professional mandate of speech-language pathologists. Over the next several months, this column will offer information on a number of different speech matters.

(Next Month: “Is it true that my child will outgrow a speech problem?”)

Newsletter Sign up!

Image Description