Phonological disorder, also known as articulation disorder, developmental articulation disorder, speech distortion, or sound distortion, is a speech disorder in young children. It occurs in children who are not able to make the same sounds as their peers in their age group. Phonological disorders are more common in boys, children coming from poverty, and children who are raised in large families. Phonological disorders can be caused by physical development disorders in the mouth. Examples of these types of disorders are cleft palete or issues with a child's teeth. Brain damage, where the brain is unable to control the nerves and muscles that make speech, for example cerebral palsy, can also cause phonological disorders.
There are several symptoms that present themselves for to help diagnose phonological disorders. Younger children may be unable to pronounce words or sounds. Their conversation may sound like gibberish to outsiders. Usually children with phonological disorders have problems with certain letters or word sounds. Health care providers should be consulted if a child is showing symptoms of a phonological disorder. There are tests available to help further diagnose the cause of the disorder. In some cases, children outgrow the disorder. In other cases, they may be referred for speech therapy. Most children will eventually outgrow the disorder and be able to communicate normally. There is no known way to prevent phonological disorders in children, however it is thought that a mother's diet during pregnancy might have some connection.