Phonological Disorder – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment
What is a phonological disorder?
Phonological disorder refers to a type of speech sound disorder. Speech sound disorders refer to the inability of a child to correctly form certain sounds of words. Speech sound disorders also include articulation disorder, disfluency, and voice disorders.
Children with the phonological disorder cannot use some or all of the speech sounds to form words as expected of a child their age.
This disorder is more common in boys.
What causes phonological disorder?
What causes phonological disorders in children is often not known to doctors and scientists. Sometimes, doctors attribute speech difficulties to physical causes, such as cleft palate, cleft lip, cerebral palsy, or hearing impairment.
What are the symptoms of phonological disorder?
It is normal for young growing children to make speech errors as their language develops. By age 3, at least 50% of what a child says should be understood by a stranger.The child should make most sounds correctly by age 4 or 5, except for a few sounds, such as l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh, and th. Children may not make completely correct sounds of harder words until age 7 or 8.
Children with a phonological disorder continue to make incorrect speech sounds past the age they should have stopped using them.
Incorrect speech sounds include dropping the first or last sound of each word or replacing certain sounds with other sounds.
The following are the examples of a child dropping last sound of a word:
- The child may say “boo” instead of “book”
- The child may say “Pi” instead of “pig”
How is phonological disorder diagnosed?
A speech-language pathologist can diagnose a phonological disorder. He/she may ask the child to say certain words and then use Arizona-4 speech assessment tool to test and assess the scale of the disorder.
The doctor or speech-language pathologist may perform tests to rule out the following other disorders that are not linked to the phonological disorder:
- Hearing impairment
- Cognitive problems, such as intellectual disability
- Neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy
- Physical problems, such as cleft palate or lip
How is phonological disorder treated?
Children with milder forms of the phonological disorder may not need any treatment. The disorder may go away on its own by around age 6.
The doctor may recommend speech therapy to help more severe symptoms or speech problems that don’t get better. Therapy may help the child create the correct sound. They train the children and show them where to place the tongue or how to form the lips when making certain sounds.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.