Can you believe that it takes 100 muscles to produce speech sounds in order to make coherent and intentional speech?! Our body pulls from the chest, neck, tongue, lips, face, and jaw to work together in a perfect sequential manner.
Think about the muscles needed to make facial expressions that go along with the tone of our voice. Tone! To achieve a different tone of voice we need the muscles in our neck, jaw, and chest to tighten and stretch our vocal folds in order to increase our pitch! So many muscles that are needed to work together to form speech! I could keep going as I nerd out on this, but I won’t!
Speech is the area in “Speech Language Pathology” directly relates to the speech sounds we make that make us understood to the listener. Some disorders in this area include:
- articulation disorder
- phonological disorder
- motor speech disorder
- childhood apraxia of speech
- adult apraxia of speech.
What causes them? Well some can be genetic, congenital, evolve after an event such as a traumatic brain injury or stroke, or can be unknown.
What do they sound like?
- People may sound like they have slurred speech
- Leaving off some sounds within words (e.g., “I no” for ‘my nose’)
- Substitute sounds with other sounds (e.g., “toat” for ‘goat’, “punny” for ‘funny’)
- Mix up or distort their vowels
- They may have “clear speech” one minute and then the next time they say the same word or phrase, it comes out completely wrong.
As clinicians we analyze the patterns that are occurring along with intelligibility (how the listener understands the speaker) to see if there is a need to start skilled therapy. Below you will find a table that has age-appropriate sounds for where your child should be at their age.
Sound Acquisition Chart
|3 to 4||m, n, p, b, t, k, g, w, h, & vowels|
|5 to 6||F, sh, ch, l, l-blends (e.g., blue)|
|7||V, j, s, z, s-blends (swing), ing|
|8||R, r-blends (free, green), th|
How do I help at home?
- Model, Model, Model! Be the model for your child, get close to their faces so they have direct eye contact with your mouth.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition! Have them repeat the word back to you. Give praise for all attempts to keep their motivation high. I use words like “I like how you closed your lips to make the /b/ sound!”.
- If they try and don’t get it, continue to give them praise. I say words such as “Nice try”.
- Practice, practice, practice! The mouth is a complicated area (so many muscles). Just like going to the gym and lifting weights or practicing the same drill over and over again in football practice, our muscles need repetition to increase motor memory!
This past February I talked about LANGUAGE as the other part of our field. If you’re interested, you can find the link here.
If you have any concerns about your child’s speech sounds or cannot understand what they are saying. Please call us at (208) 375-7200 or email us below. – Jessica Palomo Speech Language Pathologist at Kaleidoscope Pediatric Therapy.