Types of Articulation Errors

I think one of the hardest things to do is support speech kidoos who are making articulation errors. Being in a school where the Speech Pathologist comes by once or twice a week makes it hard to collaborate with them let alone have time to figure out when to recommend them for a formal evaluation.


Speech sound production is a complex process that involves precise planning, coordination, and movement of different articulators (such as the jaw, lips, teeth, tongue).

Correct articulation produces clear speech. Another name for clear speech is intelligibility. Errors in speech sound production are known as articulation errors. Articulation errors are common in children when they first learn to speak.

An example of this is a young child who says “wabbit” for “rabbit.” Most children eventually outgrow such speech errors, which are a normal part of learning to produce new sounds.

When a student demonstrates articulation errors beyond those of typical development, they may need to see a speech-language pathologist (SLP). The SLP evaluates the type of error(s) the child making and may develop an intervention or therapy plan. In speech/language sessions, the SLP teaches the child how to make the sound. He/she shows the child how to move the articulators, what type of sound it is (a “whistly” sound versus a “stop” sound, for example), and whether to turn voice on or off.

A child can make the following articulation errors when producing speech sounds: Substitutions, Omissions, Distortions, and/or Additions. 

S – Substitutions
Definition: Replace one sound with another sound.
Examples: “wed” for “red,” “thoap” for “soap,” “dut,” for “duck”

O – Omissions (also known as deletions)
Definition: Omit a sound in a word.
Note: This error affects intelligibility the most, making speech more difficult for the listener(s) to understand.
Examples: “p ay the piano” for “play the piano”, “g een nake” for “green snake”

D – Distortions
Definition: Produce a sound in an unfamiliar manner.
Examples: “pencil” (nasalized—sounds more like an “m”) for “pencil,” “sun” (lisped—sounds “slushy”) for “sun”

A – Additions
Definition: Insert an extra sound within a word.
Examples: “buhlack horse” for “black horse,” “doguh,” for “dog”

I'm always questioned by teachers and parents about when sounds are acquired. I have a copy of this picture in my "Everything-Teacher's Binder." I can pull it out an show them when what is acquired and provides them with the information that they need. Be sure to add it to your teacher binder--it's very helpful. Have a great day.



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