A phonological core deficit makes it difficult to learn the sounds making up the words in a language, and the deficit sometimes makes it difficult to learn to speak and may result in difficulties in correctly pronouncing the words in the language a child is learning. A phonological core deficit makes it difficult for children to discriminate between closely related sounds such as those formed by the letters “b” and “p.” Not being to hear close distinctions may delay speech learning and may create a situation where the child cannot hear the mispronunciation he or she is making.
Conversations like the following are not unusual in children with articulation disorders:
Parent: What is this?
Child: A phish.
Parent: No, fish!
Child: That is what I said, phish!!
Difficulties with sound capture also have major impacts on learning to read. When children begin to learn letter sounds they often make a very important discovery. They discover that the sounds that letters make map onto the sounds contained in spoken words. Researcher call this discovery “the alphabetic principle,” meaning that the child realizes that the individual sounds that letters make can be combined to form the words used when speaking.
A skill that develops after letter sounds are learned is the ability to manipulate the sounds that letters make. So, for example, a child develops the ability to sound out letters and to then rapidly blend those sounds so that he or she can recognize the word. Children also develop the ability to identify words by adding or deleting letters. This is called “phonological awareness.” A child who has phonological awareness can tell if two words rhyme, or what the word “cat” would sound like if the letter “s” was added at the beginning of the word.