What is a Speech Sound Disorder?

Most children make some mistakes as they learn to say new words. In fact, very few children develop speech without producing errors early on. For example, many young children sound like they are making a "w" sound for an "r" sound, as in "wabbit" for "rabbit." They may leave sounds out of words, such as "nana" for "banana." These errors may make it hard for people to understand your child.

A speech sound disorder occurs when mistakes continue past a certain age. Many children do develop speech sounds over time but those who do not often need help to learn correct speech sounds. Speech sound disorders include problems with articulation (making sounds), phonological processes (sound patterns), and motor speech disorders, such as childhood apraxia of speech (CAS).


Assessment of speech sound disorders takes a comprehensive look at how the structures of the mouth move during a variety of speaking tasks. This may include tests, observation, conversation, and information from the family.


Treatment may be recommended if speech is not appropriate for the child's age. Treatment is tailored to each child’s needs and is a collaboration between clinicians, the child, and the family to optimize the child’s communication. If intelligiility interferes with participation in desired life activities, we will consider augmentative communication as part of the treatment plan.

Associated Faculty

Julie Dunlap, MS, CCC-SLP - Senior Lecturer and Supervisor; Pediatric Unit Coordinator
Kate Krings, MS, CCC-SLP - Lecturer and Supervisor

Carla McMinn, MS, CCC-SLP-Lecturer and Supervisor

Courtney Murray, MA, CCC-SLP - Lecturer and Supervisor
Amy Rodda, PhD, CCC-SLP - Lecturer and Supervisor

Additional Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA):