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Is My Child Meeting Their Speech Milestones?

Parents often ask us "What is articulation?", "What sounds should my child be producing for their age?", "Where should my child be developmentally for their age?"

We've got the answers to these questions about articulation and speech milestones! Did you know that it's normal for young children to make speech mistakes as they're learning to speak?

What is Articulation?

The "simple" act of speaking is actually a very complicated process! It requires planning, coordination, and movement of many parts of your body, including your:

  • Lips

  • Teeth

  • Tongue

  • Cheeks

  • Jaw

  • Palate

  • "Voicebox"

The way we move these parts of our body to make speech sounds is known as 'articulation.' This movement helps us make the sounds and words that we recognize as our spoken language. We can easily understand others when this movement is fast and all the body parts are in the right spot.

It is common for young children to make mistakes with certain speech sounds as they learn how to talk. This is all part of our typical learning and development. For example, a young child might say "wed" instead of "red" or "thun" instead of "sun."

Most of the time, these errors go away on their own as the child grows and learns. An "articulation disorder" occurs when a child makes sound errors past the age we would expect. These errors can make it difficult for others to understand them. This is because the body parts that help make speech sounds are not in the right place at the right time.

Pediatric speech therapists are knowledgeable and experienced in evaluating and treating articulation disorders.

What are Speech Milestones?

We know that children are able to make certain speech sounds at different ages. But how do you know if your child is reaching the expected speech milestones for their age?

Research has shown that we can expect to see the correct production of speech sounds at these ages:

  • By 2 years: p, b, d, m, n, h, w

  • By 3 years: g, k, f, t, -"ing", "y"

  • By 4 years: l, j, ch, s, v, sh, z

  • By 5 years: r, voiced th (ex: "that"), z

  • By 6 years: voiceless th (ex: tooth)

We also know that most children can make the majority of these sounds correctly by 4 years of age. But it is important to remember that every child develops differently and at their own pace. That is completely normal! The same thing goes for reaching their speech milestones. Some children will develop faster, and some might take a little more time.

If you think your child needs help with making speech sounds correctly, the best thing you can do is talk with your doctor and see a pediatric speech therapist.

The 4 Types of Articulation Errors

Speech milestones are one of the tools that help pediatric speech therapists decide if a child needs therapy. There are also four types of speech sound errors that an SLP might look for in an evaluation. They are:

  1. Substitutions - Taking out the correct sound in a word and putting another sound in its place.

    1. Example: "wabbit" for "rabbit" or "blat" for "black"

  2. Omissions - Leaving out a sound in a word.

    1. Example: "pay with you" instead of "play with you"

  3. Distortions - The word sounds similar to what it should but is not completely accurate.

    1. Example: A lateral lisp when making the S-sound (this will sound like a noisy or slushy S-sound when the air comes out the side of the mouth instead of the middle)

  4. Additions - Putting an extra sound in a word

    1. Example: "buhlue" for "blue"

What if My Child Hasn't Met Their Speech Milestones?

Is your child having trouble making certain sounds correctly? That's OK! We're here to help you decide if speech therapy is right for you and your family.

If your child is...

  • Having trouble making certain sounds correctly

  • Hard for you to understand

  • Hard for friends or family to understand

  • Showing frustration because others have trouble understanding them

Our SLPs are here to help your child by:

  • Teaching them how to make the sound

  • Teaching them the difference between the correct and incorrect sounds

  • Practicing the sound with them first by itself, then in words, and later in phrases, sentences, and in conversation

Treatment can make your child easier to understand and increase their confidence! Treating speech disorders can also help them when they begin to read and spell. Give us a call or message us today to learn more and set up an appointment!

At Myna Therapy Services, our team of pediatric speech therapists is trained and ready to help your child reach their speech milestones. We know your child has important things to say and you want to understand them! We can help you get there.



Crowe and McLeod (2020)


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