I’ve created a brochure to share with parents and teachers when a child is first diagnosed with a speech sound disorder, similar to my brochure about fluency disorders. Many parents have questions, and it can be hard to remember all of the things we talk about at an evaluation or IEP meeting. I designed a brochure to summarize current research on what we know about speech sound disorders, and why speech therapy is important.

CLICK HERE to download the brochure from my TPT store.

Here is the text from the brochure:

What is a speech sound disorder?
Speech sound disorder (SSD) is an umbrella term referring to any combination of difficulties with perception, motor production, and/or the phonological representation of speech sounds and speech segments (including phonotactic rules that govern syllable shape, structure, and stress, as well as prosody) that impact speech intelligibility. (ASHA)

What causes SSD?
Speech sound disorders may be motor based (dysarthria, apraxia), structural (cleft palate, short frenum), caused by syndromes (eg: Down Syndrome) or by a hearing impairment, or may have an unknown cause. They tend to run in families, but also appear in families with no history of SSD.

SSDs are NOT caused by learning another language, bad habits, “baby talk”, or parenting style.

Is there a cure?
Speech therapy is used to treat SSDs. Most children who receive speech therapy for SSDs will master their goals and eventually be able to speak with clear sounds. Speech therapy can help reduce frustration, and increase your child’s ability to be understood.

A Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) is trained to provide speech therapy for speech sound disorders.

What can I do at home?
There are many things parents and caregivers can do to help children develop clear speech sounds.

  • Practice at home: if your child receives speech therapy, ask your SLP for home practice pages to review at home in between sessions. Short, daily practice is best! Aim for 2-3 minutes per day.
  • Model clear speech: Children learn by listening. Show how to use clear sounds by example!
  • Read books: Reading together helps all areas of speech and language development. Choose high interest books on topics that will interest your child. Point out words that have your child’s sounds in them (eg: Find all the L words, or all the S words). Talk about the story, ask questions, and encourage your child to ask questions or retell the story to you.
  • Play with letters: Use sidewalk chalk to draw letters on the ground. Make playdough letters, or have fun with letter magnets on the fridge. Draw letters in the steam on the bathroom mirror. Talk about the sounds each letter makes.

Does my child need speech therapy?
Children develop at different rates, but there is a range for normal development. If your child is significantly below these guidelines (see below), please talk to an SLP about speech therapy.

If your child is frustrated by not being understood, that is also a sign that she/he may need speech therapy. You can talk to your doctor for a referral to a hospital-based or community SLP, or contact your local school district for a free communication evaluation.

  • 2 years old: 50% intelligible
    Many speech sound errors
  • 3 years old: 75% intelligible
    P,B,M,N,H,Y are consistent
    D,T,K,G,F,S,Y are emerging
  • 4 years old: 90% intelligible
    B,D,T,F,K,G,Y are consistent
  • 5 years old: 90-100% intelligible
    May not have TH, R or S/L-blends
  • 6 years old:
    S/L-blends and R start to develop
  • 7 years old:
    TH begins to develop
    R sound and S/L-blends may still be emerging.

What should I expect from speech therapy?
Speech therapy is the treatment for SSDs. An SLP will do some testing with your child to determine exactly where they are in their speech sound development, and then set some goals to work on in therapy.

If you receive speech therapy through public schools, your child will have an Individual Education Program (IEP) developed for him/her, which will include their speech goals, and how much time each week they will work with the SLP.

Your health insurance may also cover speech therapy through hospitals or community providers. Contact your insurance provider for more details.

Resources

American Speech Hearing Association

Mommy Speech Therapy

If you feel your child has a speech sound disorder, you can receive a communication evaluation and, if necessary, speech therapy through your public school.

Contact your local public school for more information about speech therapy for your child.

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