Signs and Causes Of Speech Articulation Disorder In Toddlers

Your toddler is just beginning to speak and often mispronounces words or sentences. While most of the time this is just cute baby talk, there are times when these mispronunciations are more than just a phase.

Sometimes, these are the early symptoms of articulation disorders.

What is an Toddler Speech Articulation Disorder

Simply put, it is the incorrect or inaccurate production of words or sounds.


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These pronunciation difficulties result from inappropriate placement of lips or tongue or even the teeth for that matter. There are many causes of articulation disorder in toddlers. Articulation disorders can also sometimes be the result of dysfunctional oral or motor skills, in short, neurological dysfunction. However, in several cases, the cause for an articulation disorder remains unidentified.

If you suspect that your toddler is not able to articulate correctly, the ideal thing to do is consult your toddler’s pediatrician. Usually the suggested remedy is speech therapy. An early start always helps and in most cases speech therapy proves highly effective.

Symptoms of articulation disorder in toddlers

  • When your child tries very hard to make a sound but he only manages to gurgle something incoherent or indistinct. This articulation disorder is termed as distortion.
  • When your toddler completely drops the sound of vowels or alphabets from words on a regular basis. For instance, the sound of 'm' is completely dropped from 'hams'. This problem is termed as omission
  • When your child adds more sound to the words.

    For instance, tomorrow may be pronounced as tomomorrow. This is termed as additions
  • When your toddler's speech is slow or slurred causing incorrect articulation. In this case, the child’s speech cannot be understood clearly. This particular type of problem is called Dysarthria.
  • And lastly, an articulation disorder called substitutions, where the toddler uses an easier incorrect sound instead of the correct one.

Some toddlers also suffer from toddler phonological speech disorders. These are also speech or articulation disorders but phonological disorders or phonemic disorders, as they are sometimes called, refer to problems in producing very distinctive sounds when speaking. It means that sometimes certain speech sounds are not produced, or they are mispronounced. Usually these disorders are associated with toddlerhood and, more often than not, can be corrected at that age, but if not addressed appropriately the effects of these disorders could carry through to adulthood.

It is to be noted that most toddlers do stutter, speak slowly, or use incorrect articulation as they learn to speak. You only need to be concerned when you find that your toddler is repeatedly unable to articulate words. Then it’s time to consult a speech therapist.

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