Phonological awareness difficulties
Phonological awareness is the ability to identify and discriminate between different sounds of speech. Some children have difficulties with their phonological awareness when they are unable to identify between different sounds, this is in absence of hearing difficulties. Phonological awareness difficulties can lead to articulation disorder because children who are unable to auditorily discriminate between sounds will be unable to produce the different sounds effectively.
Our speech and language therapists can assess the speech skills of your child to see if they have difficulties with their phonological awareness. Our therapists will then use this information to provide a tailored therapy programme to suit the child’s needs and to target their phonological awareness.
Speech and language therapy can not only improve your child's phonological awareness but this in turn will benefit their speech develop and the way they are able to communicate their message effectively to others.
What is phonological awareness?
Phonological awareness is the child’s ability to hear or think about the difference between different phonemes. Phonemes are the smallest unit of sound in our speech, we can use phonemes to make up different syllables and words. Those with phonological awareness difficulties will find it difficult to identify and discriminate between different phonemes.
Children with phonological awareness difficulties may hear the word’s ‘key’ and ‘tea’ as the same if they are unable to discriminate between ‘k’ and ‘t’. Phonological awareness difficulties occur when the child has normal hearing limits and is either a delay or disorder in the way they have learnt speech sounds. If a child has poor phonological awareness, it can lead to the child producing the sounds in their speech incorrectly.
Phonological awareness difficulties do not necessarily have a cause, it is just the way that children learn to use their phonemes. Speech and language therapists can help a child to overcome phonological awareness difficulties and re-learn to use phonemes correctly.
Impact of phonological awareness difficulties
The child’s speech and other aspects of their lives may be impacted by phonological awareness difficulties, causing:
- Unclear speech.
- Difficulty hearing people's messages correctly and discriminating between certain sounds.
- Miscommunication as many words produced by the child sound the same.
- Difficulties with literacy and reading skills.
- Difficulties making and maintaining friends.
- May need more time to produce a response.
- Low self-esteem.
Phonological awareness difficulties can cause speech sound disorders in children because if a child is unable to hear or think about the differences between units of sound in our speech, they will be unable to produce them correctly. This can lead to frustration as they cannot hear the errors in their speech and listeners may not be able to understand them.
Speech and language therapy available to help phonological awareness
Our speech and language therapists can provide your child with an individualised therapy programme that targets your child’s specific speech difficulties. Our speech and language therapists aim to provide a therapy programme that includes your child’s goals and motivators as well as yours and the school's priorities.
Speech and language therapy available includes:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Advice, training, support and strategies for parents, carers, teachers and other professionals
Speech and language therapy can help a child become more aware of the differences between the sounds they hear aiming to ensure they can produce the sounds correctly in the future. Our Speech and Language Therapists will work to eliminate the different processes your child is producing. Speech and Language Therapy can increase a child’s confidence and communication with others.