Speech Development – Breaking down the terminology

Oct 29, 2019 | Therapy

What is normal speech development?

Children begin to use certain speech sounds at particular ages. The sounds are sometimes grouped as the “early, middle, and late 8 sounds”.

Early 8: By age 3 your child should be able to say the sounds m, b, y, w, n, d, p, h.
Middle 8: By age 5 ½ your child should be able to say the sounds k, g, t, f, v, ng, ch, j.
Late 8: By age 7 your child should be able to say the sounds l, r, s, th (thing), z, sh, th (the), s in (measure)

Intelligibility is what we use to describe how much of your child’s speech an unfamiliar listener understands. The norms are:

Age 2 = 50% intelligible
Age 3 = 75% intelligible
Age 4 = 83% intelligible
Age 5 = 100% intelligible

What are speech sound disorders?

Speech Sound Disorders is what we call a group of speech disorders including:

  • Articulation Disorder
  • Phonological Disorder
  • Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

Each of these speech disorders have similarities and differences which are explained below.

What is the difference between articulation and phonology?

Articulation is how a child actually makes a sound with their mouths. For example when a child has a lisp they don’t know how to move their lips and tongue to be able to say a sound like you would. This is why speech therapy is helpful because it teaches the child how to correctly make the sounds.

Children who have a phonological disorder are able to say all sounds correctly, but they mix up sounds and put them in the wrong order when they talk. Some children mix up certain sounds in the same way every time they say them, creating a pattern. We call these patterns ‘phonological processes’. Often children will substitute sounds for other sounds which are easier to say (three -> free), or leave sounds off of words (elephant -> elephen). There are many more processes and all children use these in their speech as they develop, but it can be challenging when a child is older and still using them as it can make their speech very difficult to understand. Sometimes children can have both articulation and phonological difficulties, and will likely need to receive help for both of these issues.

Where can you get help for your child?

If your child’s speech is difficult to understand and you don’t think it is appropriate for their age, then making an appointment to see a Speech Pathologist can be helpful. At Bridges for Learning the Speech Pathologists can assess your child to determine if they have articulation or phonology issues and offer therapy if it is required. Go to our website for more information https://bridgesforlearning.org.au/