There are a number of factors that underpin a child’s speech sound development. It all depends on how quickly a child is able to:
- Identify and differentiate a new sound
- Understand that words are made up of individual sounds
- Manipulate their tongue to make each sound
When it comes to the fine and gross motor skills required to produce each sound, most children follow a general timeline of acquisition for each sound. This timeline is outlined in the table below.
It becomes a little trickier when a child has not yet reached the age at which they are expected to produce a sound and instead produce an easier sound. While this process is normal, sometimes these substitutions can linger for longer than expected, causing a speech delay. These patterns as well as the age at which they may be present until, are outlined in the table below.
While a child may still fall in the normal range for the above sounds and processes, if a large number of the above sounds are not present or a number of incorrect processes are present in a child’s speech, it can drastically affect their intelligibility. Therefore we can determine whether speech pathology intervention is warranted if by 18 months a child can’t be understood by an unfamiliar listener 25% of the time, by 24 months 50-75% of the time or by 36 months 75-100% of the time.
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This article was written by our Speech Pathologist Ashleigh Fattah who is a Speech Pathology Australia member. If you have speech pathology related questions, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with simple and effective therapy targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.