Articulation is the movement and coordination of the lips, tongue and teeth as well as utilization of proper breath support to produce speech sounds. Articulation difficulty are noted by a child's inability to correctly produce sounds in words. For example, they may say "tat" for "cat". Please click on Sound Development located on the navigation bar on the left for a quick glimpse of the ages specific sounds develop.
Articulation concerns can make a child difficult to understand (unintelligible) to an unfamiliar listener or if the context in unknown. Articulation errors can be noted when a child reads outloud and can impact a child's spelling ability. A child with articulation concerns may be reluctant to participate in verbal activities.
Phonemic Awareness is another aspect of articulation. It is the child's awareness of individual sounds, their differences and that they can be manipulated or changed. Phonemic awareness skills include: rhyming, alliteration (initial sounds are the same, as in a tongue twister), segmenting by phoneme (break apart the words into individual sounds), blending of phonemes (blend individual sounds to create a word), differentiating syllables (determine the number of syllables in words usually by clapping or tapping), and differentiating words (counting the number of words in phrases/sentences). Phonological Awareness refers to the connection of phonemes (individual sounds) to the graphic letter and has a significant impact on literacy skills.
Articulation therapy focuses on oral-motor strengthening and exercises as well as practice with correct placement of articulators (lips, tongue, etc.)within the mouth. Increase in sound awareness of correct vs. incorrect production of sounds. In addition, increase in sound awareness between sounds. Practice of target sounds within the word, phrase, sentence and conversational levels.