Q: SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT HOW HE/SHE IS PRONOUNCING WORDS?

Q:  SHOULD I WORRY ABOUT HOW HE/SHE IS PRONOUNCING WORDS?

Below is a guide to how children’s speech usually develops. Speech development may vary across languages.

Early, middle and later speech sounds

This helps us think about the order that children learn to say speech sounds.

  • Early (18 months – 3 yrs):  M, n, y, b, w, d, p, h

 

  • Middle (2 – 6 yrs):   T, ng (as in “talking”), k, g, f, v, ch, j

 

  • Later (3 – 8 yrs):   Sh, zh (as in “measure”), l, r, s, z, th (as in “think”), th (as in “that”)

Speech sounds develop from the time the child starts using words until the early years at school. Although the age range extends to 8 years, most children will be using these sounds earlier than that. (Based on Shriberg, 1993 – See resources, below).

Children’s speech generally gets easier to understand as they get older.  Heres a guide:

  • By 2 years of age children can be understood by familiar adults most of the time
  • By 3 years of age children can be understood by unfamiliar adults most of the time
  • By 4 years of age children can be understood by unfamiliar adults almost all of the time
  • By 5 years of age children can be understood by unfamiliar adults all of the time

(Based on Flipsen Jr, 2006 – See resources, below).

Tips:

  • Show your child that you are interested in what they say, not how they say it
  • Help your child to learn how to say tricky sounds by repeating them correctly as naturally as possible; for example, child says “bish” and you say “yes, it’s a big fish, isn’t it?”
  • Get face to face with your child so that they can watch the way you say words

ADDITIONAL SPEECH DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES: 

Shriberg, L.D. (1993). Four new speech and prosody-voice measures for genetics research and other studies in developmental phonological disorders. Journal of Speech and Hearing Research, (36), 105-140.

Flipsen, P., Jr (2006). Measuring the speech intelligibility of conversational speech in children. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, (20) 4, 303-312.

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