Lots of children find it hard to make some sounds and speak clearly.
Helping a child to achieve a sound is something that has to happen in stages and may take some time.
Hearing the sound in isolation
By playing listening games, it is important to help a child to actually hear the sound that they are not using. They need to be able to identify that sound from a choice of a few.
Hearing the sound in in a word
The sound might be at the beginning or end of a word or in the middle. This is much harder for them.
Saying the sound in isolation
Some children find it very hard to make, their mouth, lips and tongue do what they need to achieve the sound. If the child is finding this difficult, you may need to contact your Speech and Language Therapist for advice.
Saying the sound at the beginning or end of a word
This is much harder than saying the sound on it’s own and some words will be easier than others
Saying the sound at the beginning in phrases and sentences
Transferring to this stage can take a long time and will need lots of practise.
Saying the sound in every day speech
This is the final stage and can take some time and will need gently prompts and reminders from those around him.
It’s important family members and friends, nursery staff and teachers are all aware of the child’s difficulties and how to help.
Some important TIPS:
- Speak slowly and clearly so that they can see and hear the sounds as you are talking. Always get down to the child’s level and get attention and eye contact before talking.
- As the child says the word incorrectly, model back the correct word, rather than asking the child to repeat (except when they are at the stage of transferring their new skill in to general speech). Over correcting a child will lead to low self esteem and being overly aware.
- Be positive about the child’s speech and try to listen to what is being said, rather than how it is being said
- Don’t use exaggerated mouth movements when speaking with the child
- Practise little and often – maybe in ten minute blocks. It’s important that the child doesn’t come to dread the sessions. Don’t force your child if they are reluctant.
- Try to practise in different situations, eg; in the house or in the garden, which will make it easier for the child to generalise their new skills later. Make sure you find a quiet place for practice times. Turn television/technology off
The majority of children can use most speech sounds in words by the age of 7.
Here are some guidelines on when speech sounds generally develop. All children develop at different rates and this is a guideline only.
By 2+ years - children will be using:
b p d
n m t
By 3+ years - children will be using:
k g f
v s h
z sh ng
By 4+ years – children will be using:
sound blends such as st/sp/bl/fr
By 5+ years – th l r
All children make predictable pronunciation mistakes when they are developing their speech. In the world of speech & language therapy these mistakes are referred to as phonological processes and are perfectly normal. Below are some examples of the more common mistakes and a guideline as to when they should disappear. Again, all children develop at different rates and this is a guideline only.
Stopping /f/ four = tour - usually gone by 3 years
Stopping /s/ sun = dun - usually gone by 3 years
Final consonant deletion dog = do - usually gone by 3 1/2 years
Fronting car = tar - usually gone by 3 1/2 years
Stopping /v/ van = ban usually gone by 3 1/2 years
Stopping /z/ zoo = doo usually gone by 3 1/2 years
Stopping 'sh' shoe = doo usually gone by 4 years
Weak syllable deletion banana = nana usually gone by 4 years
Cluster reduction star = tar usually gone by 4 years
Gliding of liquids red = wed usually gone by 5 years
If you have any questions about your child’s speech, please don’t hesitate to ask.
Lisa & Tracey