Speech Sound Disorder
What are these difficulties characterised by?
A Speech Sound Disorder (SSD) describes when a child has difficulties producing speech sounds accurately, or using the right speech sounds in the right places, or combining those speech sounds in a way which leads to natural-sounding speech.
Many children with SSD have trouble producing specific sounds, long after other children the same age as them can already produce them. Your child might not be able to produce the ‘k’ sound, or can only produce the ‘s’ sound with a slushy quality instead of clearly and accurately.
Some children with SSD have difficulty using the right speech sounds in the right places. So, even though your child can produce a ‘s’ sound accurately, he/she might replace all the ‘s’ sounds in their talking with a ‘d’. Some children replace a range of sounds with just one sound, e.g. ‘four’, ‘saw’, ‘shore’ and ‘jaw’ might all sound like “door”. Some children miss off entire sounds or syllables from their words.
Other children have difficulties combining speech sounds into natural-sounding speech. Their speech may sound ‘robotic’ or halting, or a bit like they have an unusual accent because they put more ‘stress’ on parts of words which we don’t usually stress.
How does this impact the child?
Children with a Speech Sound Disorder can have trouble expressing themselves clearly, and making themselves understood. Those with a severe SSD may even struggle to communicate their basic needs through speech, and may try to communicate more through gesture, noises, and showing you instead of telling you things. Some children may experience frustration, shyness or embarrassment due to their speech sound disorder. Some speech sound disorders are linked with the development of literacy skills (reading, spelling and writing): children who substitute lots of speech sounds for other sounds can struggle to make progress in literacy because they don’t have accurate speech on which to base their spellings and knowledge of sound/letter patterns.
How can ChatterBug support your child?
Therapy is usually very effective for Speech Sound Disorders. We can provide specialist assessment; direct, evidence-based therapy with your child; training in therapy approaches and group programmes for educational staff/family members; and/or strategies which can be used during play, learning and daily routines to support accurate speech development. Our Communication And Language Specialists (CALS)/Speech and Language Therapy Assistants (SLTAs) are all trained in delivering therapy for Speech Sound Disorders, and can deliver effective therapy sessions tailored to each individual child’s interests and motivations.
The therapy approaches we use with children with SSD are always evidence-based and tailored to the individual child. We often use a combination of different approaches and techniques, depending on the child’s needs. Some of the approaches we use or draw from include:
- Articulation therapy
- Minimal contrasts therapy (including Multiple Oppositions)
- Phonological Awareness therapy
- Core Vocabulary
- The ‘Patterns’ or ‘Cycles’ approach
- Elements of the Nuffield Dyspraxia Programme
- Rapid Syllable Transition Training (ReST)
We may also support you to introduce and use alternative and augmentative communication systems (AAC) with your child, such as signing, and symbol-based communication books, to help your child communicate effectively while he/she is developing their speech skills.