Speech Therapy for Kids




Phonology is the way sounds function within a language, rules that govern sound combination. Refers to speech sounds, sound patterns and rules of its organization.

It is how sounds are combined to convey and distinguish meanings, e.g. initial sound ‘b’ alters the meaning of ‘peak’ to ‘beak’.

Phonological awareness (PA) is the awareness that language is composed of sounds and the understanding of the relationship of these sounds (words in sentences, syllables, and rhyming).

Speech pathologists are trained in the knowledge of the speech sound system and language development. Speech-language pathologists assist pre-school and school aged children in acquiring the foundational skills required for reading, writing and spelling competency in order to achieve literacy and academic success.

Research indicates that one of the best predictors of later reading success is early phonological awareness and that phonological awareness can be taught. Children with weak phonological awareness skills have weak reading skills. This impacts their academic progress and is an area in which speech pathologists can provide support.

Phonological awareness consists of the following components.

  1. Syllable segmentation (segmenting the syllables in words)
  2. Syllable blending (blending syllables together to form words)
  3. Rhyme
  4. Phoneme blending (blending sounds to form words)
  5. Phoneme segmentation (segmenting the sounds in words)
  6. Phoneme manipulation (adding, deleting, or changing the sounds in words)
  7. Phoneme cluster manipulation (adding, deleting, or changing sounds in a sound cluster)

What are phonemes?

Phonemes are the smallest unit of meaningful sound.

Phoneme awareness is a subcategory of PA. It is the awareness of and the ability to manipulate sounds. Phoneme awareness is not synonymous with phonics. Phonics is associating letters of the alphabet with sounds. In the English language, there are 42 phonemes, but 26 letters of the alphabet.

How speech therapy can help

Speech therapy can help by providing support and facilitation in the different areas of phonological awareness.

  1. Listening, awareness and discrimination of different sounds.
  2. Rhyme, alliteration and sound judgment tasks.
  3. Segmentation and blending tasks.
  4. Sound manipulation tasks (what do I get if I remove /w/ from “wake”).

Research has shown that children with language impairments can benefit from instruction in phonological awareness and this should be started early to attain favourable outcomes.



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