Articulation Development and Basic Strategies
Not understanding your toddler/younger child? Or, perhaps you seem to understand everything they say but friends, family, and neighbors are having difficulty? Continue reading below for information regarding speech sound development in children and some helpful initial tips!
Does your child seem to be missing a sound? Check out the chart above to see if the missing sound should already be in your child’s repertoire. The sounds listed in each numbered age should be the sounds the child develops by that age (i.e. your child should have /p, m, h, b, w, y, n, d/ by the time they are 3 years old).
As children learn and develop their speech, they may demonstrate certain consistent error patterns in their pronunciation of sounds or words. This is very typical! Most children at one point or another will demonstrate at least one error pattern, which we as speech therapists call “phonological processes.” These patterns only become a concern if they do not disappear from a child’s speech at the appropriate time. For some children, these error patterns persist longer than they should and its at that time that speech-therapy may be necessary. The following link is a great resource for parents that explains some of the phonological processes and additionally lists at what age the process should disappear.
It can be difficult to identify patterns yourself, especially if you are very familiar with the way your child speaks. If at any point you are concerned about a particular pattern, or missing sound from your child’s speech, we can help! Please feel free to call us and set up an evaluation!
In the meantime, the following are helpful strategies when working on specific speech sounds or phonological processes:
1. Visual models: when you say a specific word, have your child watch your face as you produce the word. Seeing how a sound is produced can be very helpful!
2. Verbal models: Describe how the sound is made. Your speech therapist can give you fun descriptions for specific sounds your child is working on! There are typically two ways to help describe a sound:
a. Place of articulation: describing where in the mouth the sounds is made (i.e. /p/ is a lip sound)
b. Manner of articulation: describing how the sound is made (i.e. to make /p/ you “pop” your lips)
3. Tactile models: if possible, tap on the face/in the mouth where the sound is made to help the child “feel” the sound.
4. Start simple: When working on a specific sound, start first by producing it by itself, then move to producing it in a syllable, and then in a word. Most sounds can occur at the beginning, middle, or end of words. Sometimes one place can be more difficult than others. A speech therapist can help determine if your child is struggling with the sound in all word places, or perhaps only with one place (many children delete sounds at the ends of words).
5. Auditory Bombardment: Simply hearing good, clear models of the sounds can help children produce them more clearly. While your child is completing a quiet activity (coloring, play-doh, etc) read a word list that contains the sounds your child is working on. Read the list at a steady pace and don’t over-pronounce the sounds. The following link is a great resource for word lists and sound-based activities to do at home:
6. Choose a “sound of the week”: Pick one sound that your child is working on and do several activities that week that focus on that particular sound. A speech therapist can help you determine which sounds are appropriate to work on and the best order to address all concerning sounds.
These are just a few good starting strategies. If one doesn’t seem to be working, try another! Each child is different and will respond to different strategies. Additional strategies can be given to you specific to your child by a speech-language pathologist during a speech therapy session.
A2 Therapy Works
Monthly tips, tricks, and activity ideas from our therapists!