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  • Writer's pictureKate Coyne

Using a Speech Sound Chart

As a speech language pathologist the number one question I'm asked is “My child can’t say ____ sound. Is that normal?” It can be difficult to know if your child’s difficulty with certain sounds is age appropriate and when to be concerned.

There has been a lot of research done on speech sound (or phoneme) acquisition. If you're concerned that your child has a possible speech disorder is to do a search a “speech sound acquisition chart”. This is a chart stating what sounds a child should have in their phonemic repertoire by what age. It is separated by boys and girls because girls tend to develop certain sounds earlier than boys.

You use the chart by finding the sound with which your child is having difficulty with and finding out if it's a sound that they should be able to produce by their age. Just because a child does not have a certain sound by the accepted age range does not mean that anything is “wrong” with him or her. Sometimes they may just need a little boost to start self-monitoring or to correct a learned habit of mispronunciation. If you notice multiple errors, your child may demonstrate a phonological processing disorder. This means that errors follow a pattern.

Once you have looked at this chart and noticed any sounds your child has not mastered by the cutoff, I would suggest contacting a speech therapist for their clinical opinion and a possible in-depth evaluation of your child’s speech. It's also important to note that although your child may be able to produce a sound in isolation (by itself) they may display difficulty producing that sound within words or sentences. Often times when children can not be understood it can cause frustration and may lead to refusal to communicate. If you see your child becoming frustrated because of their speech it's time to act. Treating misarticulations EARLY is beneficial to progress as misarticulations can become very hard to unlearn because they become ingrained motor habits. Speech sound disorders can also have a negative impact on a child’s reading and spelling ability. They can also have a negative impact of their social development.

I hope this helps to provide a resource to either set your mind at ease or set you on the right path to getting your child help!


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Nikki McDermott
Nikki McDermott

Love this!

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