Phonological disorder is a communication disorder. Children who have it have problems making the right sounds for letters or words. Children with this disorder make 3 types of mistakes:
The disorder is usually diagnosed in children from 3 to 8 years old. Between 2% and 3% of children ages 6 and 7 have phonological disorder. It is more common in boys than girls.
Several kinds of problems may cause this disorder:
By the age of 8, most children have all the skills needed to produce speech sounds. Producing speech sounds depends on control of the tongue, lips, palate, larynx, jaw, and breathing muscles. It also depends on being able to hear and recognize sounds (vowel and consonant sounds, rhythm, intensity). Problems in any of these areas may lead to phonological disorder.
Parents who have speech problems have a higher risk of having children who develop speech problems.
Parents usually notice this disorder and consult a healthcare provider about it when their child is about 3 years old. The provider will ask about the child's symptoms and family medical and mental health history. Your child will be examined and tested to rule out physical causes, such as hearing problems. A psychologist, speech pathologist, or other professional will test your child's speech skills.
If your child also has a hearing problem or other medical condition, the medical condition is treated first.
The most common treatment for this disorder combines language and speech therapy. Many public schools have a speech therapist or tutor who works with children diagnosed with this disorder. There may be treatment centers in your community that help children and adults with communication disorders.
Children learn words and the rules for using them by listening to others talk. Therefore, what you say and how you say it is important. Talking is a natural part of many daily routines such as mealtime, bath time, and dressing. Encourage your child to ask for items, make choices, and answer questions. Encourage him to tell stories and share information.
This problem can go away by itself by the time a child is around 8 years old. However, the more time the child spends in speech therapy, the more likely he or she is to overcome the effects of this disorder.