This advice-column-style blog for SLPs was authored by Pam Marshalla from 2006 to 2015, the archives of which can be explored here. Use the extensive keywords list found in the right-hand column (on mobile: at the bottom of the page) to browse specific topics, or use the search feature to locate specific words or phrases throughout the entire blog.
Counseling Parents About Articulation Deficit
By Pam Marshalla
Q: What do you tell parents when they ask what caused their child’s articulation disorder?
First I draw whatever conclusions I can from the child’s medical and physical history. For example, I explain how the child’s errors might be related to his positive history of ear infections, oral injury, structural deficit, neuromuscular disorder, sensorimotor dysfunction, and so forth.
Second, I draw conclusions from information I have about the client’s cognitive level. For example if the client is four-years-old, but he processes information like a one-year-old, then I help the parents understand that his articulation will be like that of a one-year-old. I help them understand what this means in terms of our expectations about speech sound development.
Third, I draw conclusions from his social, emotional, educational, and language history if there are any significant findings. For example, a child who is adopted from another country where he was in a less-than-optimum orphanage may have significant speech-language issues to overcome during the first few years after adoption.
Finally, if there are no obvious potential causes, I tell the parents that we may never know the cause of the articulation deficit.