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Working on speech sounds as an adult

Speech is a remarkable aspect of human communication, allowing us to express our thoughts, share ideas, and connect with others. For some individuals, however, the journey to achieving clear and accurate speech sounds can be challenging. This is where the expertise of a speech-language pathologist (SLP) comes into play. In this blog post, we will explore the journey of working on speech sounds as an adult with the guidance and support of an SLP.

The Importance of Speech Sounds

Clear and accurate speech sounds play a vital role in effective communication. They allow us to be understood by others and help us navigate various social and professional situations. Unfortunately, some individuals may struggle with speech sound errors, known as phonological disorders, which can affect their ability to communicate effectively. These disorders can manifest in mispronunciations, substitutions, omissions, or distortions of specific sounds or sound patterns. I have also worked with many adults who had a lisp that is unresolved.

Women speaking at a meeting with clear speech
Clear speech can make a big impact on professional development

The Role of a Speech-Language Pathologist

Speech-language pathologists are highly trained professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating communication disorders, including speech sound disorders. When working with adults, they employ a systematic and individualized approach to address specific speech sound errors. This includes an in-depth understanding of how speech sounds are produced and how to help others learn a different way of speaking.

Assessment and Goal Setting

The journey of working on speech sounds typically begins with a comprehensive assessment conducted by the SLP. During this process, the SLP will evaluate the individual's speech sound production, identify areas of difficulty, and determine the underlying causes of the errors. Based on the assessment findings, the SLP will collaborate with the individual to set specific goals tailored to their needs and aspirations.

Targeting Speech Sounds

Once goals are established, the SLP will design a customized treatment plan. This plan may involve various evidence-based techniques and strategies to target specific speech sounds or sound patterns. Depending on the severity and nature of the speech sound errors, therapy sessions may focus on articulation exercises, phonological awareness activities, auditory discrimination tasks, and practice in conversational contexts.

Building Skills and Awareness

Working on speech sounds as an adult is not merely about mimicking sounds or repeating words. It involves building skills and raising awareness of the articulatory mechanisms, such as the placement of the tongue, lips, and airflow. SLPs guide individuals through exercises that help them understand and visualize the correct production of speech sounds, making it a more conscious and deliberate process.

Home Practice and Generalization

An essential aspect of speech sound therapy is home practice! SLPs often provide individuals with exercises and activities to reinforce the skills learned during therapy sessions. These practices help to reinforce muscle memory and improve carryover of accurate speech sounds into everyday conversations. The SLP may also provide strategies to promote generalization of skills across different settings and social contexts.

Patience and Persistence

Working on speech sounds as an adult requires patience and persistence. It is essential to remember that progress takes time and that each individual's journey is unique. Speech sound therapy is not a quick fix but a gradual and transformative process. The SLP acts as a supportive guide, providing encouragement, feedback, and motivation to keep individuals on track and motivated.

Speech language pathologist working with a client on speech sounds
Speech therapy for speech sounds requires practice

The Rewards of the Journey

The journey of working on speech sounds with an SLP can be incredibly rewarding. As individuals progress, they gain confidence in their ability to communicate clearly and effectively. Improved speech intelligibility leads to enhanced social interactions, increased self-esteem, and improved professional opportunities. The newfound skills acquired through speech sound therapy open doors to expressing oneself more confidently and navigating life with greater ease.


Working on speech sounds as an adult with a speech-language pathologist is a transformative journey that empowers individuals to overcome communication barriers. The expertise, guidance, and support of an SLP enable adults to develop clear and accurate speech sounds, improving their overall communication skills. With patience, persistence, and the collaborative efforts of both the individual and the SLP, the journey toward achieving effective speech sounds becomes a fulfilling experience that can positively impact various aspects of one's life.

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