Articulation of speech refers to the pronunciation of words and the overall intelligibility of the child's speaking. The clinician will analyze the individual sounds produced within words to determine if the developing pattern is normal. For example, it is a normal developing pattern for a 3 year-old to say "Wook at dis" for 'Look at this'. Errors such as the "lisping" of "s", particulalry when the airflow is lateralized, are considered a speech distortion error that requires attention and remediation. Speech sounds are produced using the "articulators", which refers to your lips, teeth, tongue, palate, and jaw. Speech-Language Pathologists conduct an oral-motor examination to ensure there is nothing unusual with the appearance, strength, and coordination of the articulators.
A Speech-Language Pathologist will determine whether your child's speech develpment is following a normal developing pattern. Developmental Apraxia of Speech (DAS) is a motor speech disorder that affects a child's ability to imitate consonants and vowel sounds, and chidlren with DAS have difficulty sequencing sounds and words to form intelligible speech. Apraxia of speech can be difficult to diagnose before age 3, since there is a range of articualtion and expressive language develpment to consider.