Today's question is brought to you by some worried parents. I often get asked this question when I give results of an artic eval or at an initial IEP meeting. Parents are often worried what an articulation disorder means for their child and what are the long term effects.
According to this article by Everything Speech, there is no scientific evidence that articulation deficits in general cause academic problems in students. Articulation errors can occur in conjunction with giftedness, learning disorders, or even mental disabilities.
I have actually had quite a few students that I shared with the gifted teacher over the course of my job. Having articulation problems does not necessarily mean the child will have academic problems. Educational issues that can occur, however, are things like difficulty participating orally in class, difficulty with social interactions, and being understood in general.
On the other hand, a child with a phonological disorder is a little different. This article by ASHA suggests that kids with phonological disorders are at risk for reading and writing difficulties. It goes on to say that if the disorder is left untreated, it could interfere with the child's social, academic, and vocational well-being in the long run. :/
In case some of you might be wondering, the main difference between articulation and phonological disorders is that phonological disorders involve patterns of errors. They might leave out ending sounds in words or shorten words or say sounds in the wrong place in their mouths (i.e. t/k, d/g). These patterns usually make these kiddos a lot more difficult to understand.
Here and Here are a couple more interesting articles about phonological disorders that have some good information as well.
For both of these, early intervention is key. The earlier kids begin to remediate speech sound errors, the less they will have to overcome later on when learning to read and write.
Here are a few articles that ASHA references for the treatment of phonological disorders in case you wanted some more info.
- Phonological treatment efficacy and developmental norms (article abstract)
- Treatment efficacy: Functional phonological disorders in children (article abstract)
- Treatment efficacy summary on phonological disorders [PDF]