What is Articulation Therapy?

L. Whitaker
L. Whitaker
A physical examination of the face and mouth may be part of articulation therapy.
A physical examination of the face and mouth may be part of articulation therapy.

Articulation therapy is a form of speech-language therapy, often simply called speech therapy, that focuses on how speech sounds are produced. It is a treatment used by children or adults who have difficulty in pronouncing words clearly enough to be easily understood by others. Treatment for articulation disorders is provided by a certified or licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP).

Articulation therapy may involve working with a speech pathologist.
Articulation therapy may involve working with a speech pathologist.

Articulation refers to the production of speech sounds. A person with an articulation disorder incorrectly articulates the distinct sounds within certain words by distorting, adding, or leaving off some of the sounds. One example of an articulation disorder is informally called a lisp, in which a person incorrectly pronounces an "s" sound as if it were a "th" sound.

Articulation therapy may be necessary for patients recovering from head injuries.
Articulation therapy may be necessary for patients recovering from head injuries.

Children might be diagnosed with an articulation disorder when they have trouble with certain speech sounds past the point of normal developmental speech issues. This disorder could be a complication of a developmental delay, hearing impairment, autism, birth defect or brain injury, among other possible causes. Adults might struggle with articulation problems due to medical conditions such as a stroke or head injury, or they could have unresolved speech issues from childhood. Diagnosis of an articulation disorder can require an articulation test, in which the person's speech is recorded to document sound errors. A physical examination of the face and mouth can also be done to assess the function of speech-related muscles.

Speech therapy may be useful in helping children that display problems with articulation.
Speech therapy may be useful in helping children that display problems with articulation.

Articulation therapy is a subcategory of speech-language therapy, commonly referred to as speech therapy. It can be used as a treatment to address articulation problems in children or adults. Articulation therapy is provided by SLPs with master's degrees who are nationally certified, more locally licensed, or both.

Articulation therapy can involve learning the correct way to pronounce speech sounds, understanding how to recognize when sounds are being made incorrectly, and strengthening facial muscles used in speech production. The SLP might make corrections to the individual's pronunciation. He or she might also prescribe repetitive pronunciation exercises to reinforce speech and language skills. The therapy could occur in a classroom setting, one-on-one, or in a small group. For younger children, treatment may be framed within the context of age-appropriate play activities.

Articulation therapy may help children learn the correct way to pronounce speech sounds and to recognize when sounds are being made incorrectly.
Articulation therapy may help children learn the correct way to pronounce speech sounds and to recognize when sounds are being made incorrectly.

For a child who is being treated with articulation therapy, at-home support by caregivers is important. An SLP will provide home exercises and strategies that the child's caregiver can use to reinforce treatment between sessions. Repeated practice of pronunciation exercises and other techniques is key to ameliorating articulation disorders.

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    • A physical examination of the face and mouth may be part of articulation therapy.
      By: corepics
      A physical examination of the face and mouth may be part of articulation therapy.
    • Articulation therapy may involve working with a speech pathologist.
      By: alexsokolov
      Articulation therapy may involve working with a speech pathologist.
    • Articulation therapy may be necessary for patients recovering from head injuries.
      By: corepics
      Articulation therapy may be necessary for patients recovering from head injuries.
    • Speech therapy may be useful in helping children that display problems with articulation.
      By: photowahn
      Speech therapy may be useful in helping children that display problems with articulation.
    • Articulation therapy may help children learn the correct way to pronounce speech sounds and to recognize when sounds are being made incorrectly.
      By: ambrozinio
      Articulation therapy may help children learn the correct way to pronounce speech sounds and to recognize when sounds are being made incorrectly.
    • Treatment for articulation disorders is provided by a certified or licensed speech language pathologist.
      By: Monkey Business
      Treatment for articulation disorders is provided by a certified or licensed speech language pathologist.
    • Articulation therapy can help children better communicate with their peers.
      By: Andy Dean
      Articulation therapy can help children better communicate with their peers.