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Articulation and Speech Sounds

Articulation is the production of speech sounds.  When speech sounds are put together in the right order, they form words. 
You can help your child learn to make speech sounds by:
  • Get down at your child's level when you talk to them so they can watch how you make your sounds.
  • Avoid using baby talk with your child.  Use real words for example "train" instead of "choo choo".
  • If you know what sound your child is trying to say, repeat it back to them the correct way (ex. 'Look at the 'nake''.  'Look at the ssssnake'.). The child does not need to imitate the correct sound back, just hearing the model is enough.
  • Limit background noise such as TV or other electronic devices as it makes it more difficult for your child to be understood.
  • Monitor your child's hearing ability.  If your child often has colds or a history of ear infections.  They may not all ways hear sounds around them. Talk to your doctor if concerned.  
When to ask for help?
When you or others have difficulty understanding your child's speech it is time to get help.  Don't wait too long for advice about a child's articulation.  A child's articulation sounds are important for learning to read and write. 
Speech sounds at different ages 
By 18 to 24 months most children:
  • Say the sounds 'p', 'b', 'm', 'n', 'h' (i.e. 'hi'), 'w' (i.e. 'water'), 'y' (i.e. 'yes'). 
  • Say all syllables in a word
  • Puts the sounds on the ends of words (i.e. "pot", "hop")

By ​2 to 3 years most children:

  • ​Say the sounds 't', 'd', 'k' (i.e. 'cat'), 'g' (i.e. 'go'), 's', 'z', 'f' and 'v' 
  • Combine 's' with another sound - 'sm', 'sn', 'sp', 'st' (i.e. smile, snap, spot, stay)

Most people should understand at least 80% of what the child says.

By 3 to 4 years most children:

  • Say the sounds 'sh' (i.e. 'shoe'), 'ch' (i.e. 'chair'), and 'j' (ie. 'jump')

By ​4 to 5 years most children:

  • Say the sounds 'l' and 'r'
  •  ​'l' and 'r' with other sounds (i.e. 'black', 'great') ​Can make sounds for the letters l, l clusters (i.e. bl, pl, etc.), r, r clusters (i.e. br, gr, etc.)

By ​5 to 6 years most children:

  • Have near perfect speech. Only occasional sound errors are noted. 

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