Articulation Disorders

Overview   Apraxia   Dysarthria   Phonological    Reviews   Credentials

Both children and adults can have problems producing sounds correctly. It takes time for children to learn new sounds. When errors persist beyond an expected age for both children and adults, they are said to have an articulation disorder.

Therapy addresses individual sound production.

v Apraxia - Childhood Apraxia of Apeech (CAS)

(Both children and adults may have apraxia, but Alida only works with apraxia in children.)

Apraxia is a neuro-motor speech disorder in which children know what they want to say but have difficulty sending the speech signals from the brain to the lips, tongue, and jaw. It is due to a breakdown in transmission of the nerve impulse; not necessarily due to mouth-muscle weakness -- although the two may co-exist. Children with apraxia often have no difficulty with language comprehension.

Therapy requires intense, one-on-one effort and may take several years. Initially, use of alternative means of expression may be necessary, such as communication apps, sign language, or a communication board. Family involvement is essential to progress, and close coordination is needed between the therapist and classroom personnel (teachers and school speech therapists).

v Dysarthria

Dysarthria is a neuro-motor speech disorder, manifested in impaired muscle movement at the oral structure. This speech-muscle weakness can result in:

  • limited movement of tongue, lips, and jaw;
  • difficult to understand, slurred or mumbled speech;
  • reduced rate of speech;
  • unusual pitch and rhythm to speech;
  • possible nasal, or hoarse voice quality.

Therapy depends on the affected part of the nervous system. Family involvement is necessary, as is good coordination between the therapist and school personnel.

v Phonological Disorders

These involve patterns of sound errors. Some examples of phonological disorders are:

  • Substituting voiceless sounds (k,p,t,s,f) for voiced (g,b,d,z,v), or vice-versa. Eg: "penny" for "benny," or "benny" for "penny."
  • Front sounds (t and d) for back sounds (k and g), or vice versa. Eg: "tup" for "cup."
  • Cluster reductions, articulating only one of two beginning consonants in a word. Eg: "cool" for "school" and "poon" for "spoon," etc.

Therapy teaches pronunciation rules to correct the error patterns.


"After having trouble with my R's for years, as an adult I finally decided to attempt to correct my speech. Working with Alida reinstalled my confidence in myself about a speech problem that had me avoiding most words and interaction with new people. I used her self-created "R in the Car" CD. Even though it was geared toward children it helped me eliminate my "R" problem and speak with confidence again. I am indebted to Alida for her warm, therapeutic and effective speech therapy, it literally change my life."

"Our 6 year old daughter was having articulation issues. Alida provided a thorough initial assessment and clearly explained her treatment approach and anticipated scope, which was very reasonable, and was met. She and her office partner, Gene, were professional and friendly, and communication was always very open and easy. Alida excelled at making the sessions enjoyable and productive for my daughter by encouraging her active participation without making her feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. My daughter really enjoyed her time with Alida, understood why she was there, and was happily self-motivated to practice on her own outside of the sessions. We were also provided with useful materials for suggested home practice. Within a fairly short period of time, clear progress was made. We highly recommend The Center for Speech and Learning."
--B.A., Mom

"There's not a child in the world who wouldn't benefit from a talk with Alida. Thank you for a most imaginative approach, because that's what [our daughter] responded to. She has blossomed this year in so many ways. She not only speaks clearer but enjoys being heard."
--G. and R., Parents

SLP Alida Engel's relevant training and experience in articulation disorders:

  • Update on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Dr. Shelly Velleman)
  • R-in-the-Car CD: 10 Fun Songs to Learn to Pronounce the "R" (Produced by Alida Engel, CCC-SLP, BCS-F)
  • Kaufman Method for Childhood Apraxia
  • Therapy for Severe Articulation Impediments
  • Motor Control Disorders (Sara Rosenfeld-Johnson, Talk Tools
  • De-Catastrophizing Vocal Injury for the Performing Voice (Seminar at Weill-Cornell Medical Center)

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