Articulation refers to clear, precise production of speech sounds. Imprecise, "sloppy" articulation can make speech difficult to understand or be distracting to the listener. The goal of articulation therapy is to give you a clear, precise speaking style so that your listeners are paying attention to what you say-- not how you say it.
What is an articulation disorder?
Articulation disorders fall into two main categories speech sound disorders and motor speech disorders.
Speech sound disorders refer to difficulty producing specific sounds, such as r, s, or l. Speech sound disorders are common in children, but sometimes they persist into adulthood.
Motor speech disorders arise from damage to the speech motor system (brain, nerves, muscles), such as in the case of stroke, brain injury, or neurologic disease. Motor speech disorders can make speech sound "slurred" and it can be very difficult to understand the listener.
Is it too late to fix my speech?
No! Many adults with speech sound disorders worry they have "missed the window" for correcting their speech pattern. This is not true! With dedicated effort, you can learn new skills at any age! It does require work, but if you're willing to work, you will see change.
What happens in articulation therapy?
Articulation therapy begins with a thorough evaluation. Your entire speech motor system will be addressed using a variety of exercises and speaking tasks. For speech sound disorders, your production of every sound will be inventoried to identify which sounds are produced incorrectly and why. We will also ask you about your communication demands to ensure that your therapy program enables you with the right kind of articulation style.
Therapy is intensive and will include a variety of speech exercises to retrain your speaking patterns. We move at a steady pace, building up to conversation, to ensure that you can maintain clear articulation in your everyday speech.
How long does therapy last?
Therapy program lengths vary depending on the nature and severity of the articulation disorder, and your personal goals. Articulation therapy requires dedicated practice outside of your sessions with the speech therapist. Daily practice solidifies speech skills and leads to rapid progress. Inconsistent practice will lead to a longer course of sessions and carryover into everyday life will be minimal.
We want you to progress steadily and quickly! Your speech therapist will hold you accountable, guiding you in your practice to achieve your personal speech goals.
My speech has declined due to a health change. Will I ever sound like I did before?
Depending on the severity and nature of your speech changes, it may not be possible to regain the same speech clarity you had previously. We may work on compensatory strategies to improve speech intelligibility. If you have trouble being understood by others, we will work to ensure you have the tools and skills to convey your message clearly.