Phonological disorders

What is a phonological disorder?

A child may be diagnosed with a phonological disorder if they have a number of the previously described processes persisting beyond the ages indicated, and/or if they are using any number of patterns that are not observed in typical speech development. Commonly, parents of a child with phonological difficulties find him/her fairly easy to understand because they have unknowingly 'decoded' the pattern of sound substitutions being made and can interpret the message. In contrast, other familiar people will often find the same child difficult to understand. For this reason, if someone else raises concerns about your child's speech, it is worthwhile seeking help early even if you are not concerned. Early correction can mean quicker progress as the patterns are less ingrained in a child's speech. Accessing help as soon as possible is also important because of the links between speech difficulties and literacy difficulties.

Warning signs for phonological difficulties/disorders

Seek help if your child is/has:
- showing an unusual preference for a particular sound (e.g using 'h' for many sounds)
- leaving off sounds at the start of words (e.g. saying 'ish' for fish)
- leaving off sounds at the end of words beyond age 2 ( e.g. nose as 'no')
- a history of ear infections at early ages
- replacing 'front' sounds with 'back' sounds (e.g. table as 'kable')
- hard to understand compared to his/her peers

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