top of page


Speech Issues

The who, the how and what to do next...

What is speech therapy?
Speech therapy is defined as the assessment and treatment of communication disorders. It is performed by trained speech-language pathologists. Therapy addresses a variety of communication issues like:  


  • Trouble pronouncing words

  • Receptive and expressive language development

  • Swallowing disorders and tongue thrusts

  • Social pragmatic language skills

  • Stuttering

  • Voice disorders

  • Augmentative/Alternative Communication (AAC)  


What does a speech therapist do? 
Speech therapists are trained individuals who work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, cognitive-communication, and swallowing disorders in infants, children and adults.


What’s the difference between a speech therapist and a speech language pathologist?

While the field is very broad, a speech-language pathologist, sometimes called a speech therapist, is trained to work with infancy to the elderly population on a variety of issues that could include but is not limited to feeding, AAC, TBI, dyslexia, articulation (pronouncing words), voice, and social communication disorders.  
Pro Tip: When looking for a speech-language pathologist, consider what extra training that speech-language pathologist has had in the focus area that you are needing.  


Language delay vs disorder--what’s the difference? 
Language skills are acquired in a typical sequence. Some children experience a language delay, meaning they do not meet the language developmental milestones for their age. They lag behind peers, their language abilities just developing at a slower rate.  A language disorder is characterized by atypical language acquisition significantly disrupting communication across settings. 

How can you tell if a child will have an issue with their speech?
While it is normal to first misunderstand words your toddler is using as they are developing their language skills, as they get older, that should work itself out. As they approach Kindergarten, if it is still difficult to understand the child or others have difficulties understanding them, they might benefit from being screened by a speech therapist.  



How well should I understand my toddler?

Here are some guidelines* to help you gauge your toddler’s intelligibility:


  • By 18 months a child's speech is normally 25% intelligible

  • By 24 months a child's speech is normally 50 -75% intelligible

  • By 36 months a child's speech is normally 75-100% intelligible

The term intelligibility refers to 'speech clarity' or the proportion of a speaker's output that a listener can readily understand. A key characteristic of children with speech sound disorders is that they are often significantly less intelligible than non-speech-impaired children of the same age. *Lynch, Brookshire & Fox, cited in Bowen (1998).

Specific indicators to look for that suggest they might have speech problems include:

  • Substituting one sound for another

  • Leaving sounds out

  • Adding sounds

  • Changing a sound


What are the most common speech issues?
When children are learning to speak they can use phonological processes, patterns of sound errors to simply speech. Many children present with phonological processes. The list of speech disorders is long, but the major ones fall into these three categories:

  • Syllable Structure Processes: Syllables are reduced, omitted or repeated

  • Substitution Processes: Replacing one set of sounds for another set of sounds

  • Assimilation Processes: Sounds and syllables sound like the surrounding sounds

Other common sound errors include: /v/, /f/, /l/, /l-blends/, /s/, /z/, /s-blends/, /sh/, /ch/, /r/, /r-blends/. 

What happens if you don’t treat speech sound errors, commonly called speech impediments?
Speech can have educational impacts on basic literacy skills in areas such as: 

  • phonemic awareness

  • reading fluency

  • vocabulary development

  • reading comprehension

  • writing, and spelling

If gone untreated, speech errors could have a lifelong social-emotional impact.

The Dental Connection
In order to produce proper speech sounds, the oral structures need to work together.  When you visit Floss, the team is trained to answer structure and function of the speech mechanism questions. The speech-language pathologists who are housed within Floss have additional training and certifications, in the field of myofunctional therapy, Certified Orofacial Myologists®, to better assist your needs.    

How do you fix speech issues that are a result of mouth structure?
When the oral structures are not adequate for the function of speech, speech-language pathologists and Certified Orofacial Myologists®, work with collaborative team to provide care. The team may consist of trained dentists, oral surgeons, orthodontists, myofunctional therapists, and Ear Nose and Throat (ENTs) specialists.  

Did you know?
Adult speech impediments can be corrected. Treatment varies and depends on the type of disorders. A proper evaluation completed by a trained provider will be able to give you an individualized treatment plan depending on the underlying cause of your speech impairment.

Next Steps?

For additional information click the link below or give us a call.  The speech-language pathologists and Certified Orofacial Myologists® who are housed at Floss are part of Link To Communication, LLC.  We are happy to answer questions.  




Adult speech errors can be treated. Treatment varies and depends on the type of disorders. A proper evaluation completed by a trained provider will be able to give you an individualized treatment plan depending on the underlying cause of your speech impairment.

Schedule your appointment. >>

bottom of page