Articulation and Phonology


    What is the difference between an Articulation Disorder and a Phonological Disorder?

    A phonological disorder differs slightly from an articulation disorder.

    An articulation disorder is a problem making sounds. Sounds can be stubstituted, left off, added or changed, and usually affects one or two sounds individually. For example, maybe a child substitutes and 'f' sound for a 's' sound (i.e. 'fwing' for 'swing') or an 'f' for a 'th' sound (i.e. 'fink' for 'think'). These substitutions do not affect an entire class of sounds; for instance, the substitution of f/s does not affect production of orther similar sounds, such as 'z'.

    A phonological disorder involves patterns of sound errors (phonological processes) that affect whole classes of sound and persist beyond what is considered developmentally appropriate. For example, substituting all sounds made in the back of the mouth like "k" and "g" for those in the front of the mouth like "t" and "d" (e.g., saying "tup" for "cup" or "das" for "gas"). All children demonstrate phonological processes when they are first beginning to speak, but when they continue to demosntrate these procceses beyond what is considered typical, he or she may have a phonological disorder.  

    For a description of some commonnly observed phonological processes, and when they are addressed here at Hillcrest Elementary, please see our subpage: A Description of Phonogical Processes.   


    When will my student get intervention to fix an articulation or phonological error?

    Here at Hillcrest Elementary, we provide intervention to remediate phonological and articulation disorders when the error is considered to be outside developmental norms, and when the error impacts the students ability to succeed within the classroom in some way.

    Please see the chart below to determine when a particular process or error would be considered a viable intervention target (developmentally appropriate).

    Please note that in order to receive intervention within the school setting, there must also be a DOCUMENTED EDUCATIONAL IMPACT. This means that your child will not receive intervention for sound errors unless it impacts their ability to succeed within the classroom. Some educational impacts of an articulation or phonological error may include; reduced overall intelligibility (ability to understand what they are saying), errors within writing, social impact, reduced phonemic awareness, etc.

    Between 3 and 3 1/2 years of age:

    • Velar Fronting (K and G)
    • Stopping of S, Z, F and V
    • Final Consonant Deletion
    • Backing

    By 4 years of age:

    • Cluster Reduction


    • S-Blend Cluster Reduction

    First Grade:

    • Liquid Simplification (L)
    • Palatal Substitutions (SH, CH, J)

    Second Grade:

    • Substitution/Stopping of "TH"

    Third Grade:

    • Liquid Simplification (R)
    • Lateral or Frontal distortion of "S" and "Z"