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Phonological Processes and Sound Substitution in Speech Therapy

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Phonological Processes and Sound Substitution in Speech Therapy

In speech therapy, sound substitution refers to the replacement of one sound for another. This can have a variety of effects on a child’s articulation, including intelligibility and comprehension.

Children often employ certain phonological processes when learning language; these may vary depending on their individual needs. For instance, some may exhibit fronting – the substitution of a front sound (t, d,) for a back sound (k, g).

This is a normal development in children as they learn to speak, and usually ends around age 3.5. If your child has fronting and has difficulty pronouncing words with this sound, it is recommended that they consult with a speech-language pathologist for evaluation and further assistance.

Phonological Processes are the underlying errors in your child’s speech that impact their intelligibility. To help your child develop correct patterns, they need to know how sounds fit together in a word and be able to produce individual sounds appropriately in certain contexts.

Some of these processes are normal and expected, while others can have a significant effect on your child’s ability to communicate with peers. Fortunately, most of these disorders can be corrected with the assistance of an experienced speech-language pathologist.

If your child is having difficulty pronouncing the word “sun”, and they are making up “sun-tsun”, it could be indicative of a potential phonological disorder that requires professional assistance.

Here is a list of the most frequent phonological processes that occur in children with a speech sound disorder and that are frequently utilized in speech therapy:

Sometimes a front sound (t, d, k) can be substituted for either a back sound (k, p, t, d, g) or velar sound (k, g, ng). This may happen at the start of words as well as their endings.

Phonological processing usually completes by the age of 3.5 and is less common than some other types of errors.

Devoicing occurs when a voiced consonant (b, d) at the end of a word is replaced with either a voiceless consonant (p, t) or palatal sound (k, f, g). This can occur up until your child turns 3 years old and should resolve by age 6.

Prevocalic Voicing is when a voiceless consonant (k, f) at the start of a word is substituted with either tense voicing or velar voicing, such as “gup” for “cup”. This may persist until your child turns 6 years old and should also resolve by then.

Coalescence occurs when two sounds in a word sound alike. This can be an issue for young children who are still developing their phonological awareness, and could benefit from speech therapy treatment.

These are the most prevalent phonological processes affected by speech sound disorders and should be addressed during articulation therapy. If you have any queries about your child’s development or if there are signs of speech sound difficulties, don’t hesitate to contact us at Speech Blubs 2 and book a consultation with one of our speech-language pathologists.

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