Articulation Disorder: Types & Examples

Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that there are four types of articulation disorders? In this lesson, we will learn about each of the articulation disorders using examples.

Early Signs of an Articulation Disorder

Lisa is a third-grade teacher at a small elementary school. She notices that 9-year-old Doug, one of her students, has trouble pronouncing certain words. For example, when asked to read the sentence 'The rabbit likes to wrap his rolls in lettuce,' Doug pronounced it as 'The vabbit likes to vap his volls in lettuce.' Doug has made similar errors when pronouncing other words. For example, Doug says 'vite,' 'vizard,' and 'veap' instead of 'white,' 'wizard,' and 'reap'. At Lisa's suggestion, Doug's parents sends him to a speech therapist for evaluation. The speech therapist informs Doug's parents that he has an articulation disorder.

What is Articulation?

So what do we mean by articulation? Simply put, articulation is the act of forming words and sounds. Articulation requires us to use several of our facial muscles, teeth, jaw, tongue, and lips. The following image depicts normal articulation development by age.


Articulation disorders occur when we cannot produce speech sounds correctly, and we have passed the age where the mastery of the mispronounced speech sound should have been developed. In Doug's case, he is past the age where mastery of the /w/ and /r/ sounds should have been mastered, so he has an articulation disorder. However, had Doug been 2 years old instead of 9, his speech errors would have been considered normal since mastery of the /w/ sound is expected until sometime between the ages of 2 and 3, and the /r/ sound isn't expected to be mastered until age 9.

Types and Examples

The four types of articulation disorders are collectively referred to as SODA, which stands for Substitution, Omission, Distortion, and Addition. Let's look at each one of these disorders in more detail.

Substitution is exactly what it sounds like. Substitution is when a person replaces, or 'substitutes' a sound for a different sound. Doug replaced the /w/ sound for the /v/ sound. He also replaced the /r/ sound with the /v/ sound. Another example of substitution is replacing /st/ with /sk/, e.g. saying 'skreet' and 'skrawberry' instead of 'street' and 'strawberry'. Substitution is the most common type of articulation disorder.

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