About children’s speech
Parents often wonder whether their child’s speech is developing within age expected timeframes. Learning to produce sounds is a step-by-step process for all children. Speech is different from language, as it refers to the ability to articulate and produce individual sounds. Speech describes how a person makes sounds using their lips, tongue, teeth and voice box. As children develop, their speech slowly becomes clearer. Although the development of sounds may vary between children, there is a general pattern to which sounds are acquired.
It’s important to remember that:
- Initially, children tend to simplify their speech as they learn to say different sounds
- Children may substitute or miss sounds
- Make words shorter (e.g. banana for nana)
- Say easier sounds in place of a difficult one (e.g. wabbit for rabbit)
- Mix up the order of sounds in a word
- Two or more sounds are simplified into one (tain for train; and poon for spoon)
Typical speech sounds develop around these ages:
0-2 years: p, b, n, w, t, d, m
3-4 years: h, z, y ch, g, k, f, l sh, ng (as in sing)
4-6 years: j, s, z, r, v
6-8 years: th
By four and a half years, most children’s speech can be understood most of the time. Some speech errors are considered typical as a child develops, however there may be other speech errors that are not are not considered part of typical speech sound development.
When to seek help?
It is important to remember that each child’s speech develops individually. However if your child’ speech development appear inconsistent with the stages outlined above, you may need to seek advice from a Speech Pathologist. Even if you are unsure, it would be worth organising a speech pathology consult. A Speech Pathologist will help identify any concerns with speech development. If there are concerns, remember that early intervention is best!
If you have questions or concerns about children’s speech and language development contact your local doctor, who will arrange for you to see a speech pathologist. We‘ll provide you with a straightforward, efficient and very effective treatment plan targeted to your concerns.