Speech refers to the accurate production of sounds. Young children between ages one to three may simplify words, such as “na na” for banana” or “tat” for “cat.” Up to age 3, these are appropriate productions.
All children make predictable pronunciation errors when learning to speak. A child will generally have speech that is normally clear:
Children who have unclear speech may be at risk of an articulation or phonological delay. It is important to seek advice as phonological disorders can affect children's abilities to learn reading or spelling.
Speech Sound Disorders
1. Articulation and Phonological Delays
An articulation delay or disorder occurs when your child has trouble physically producing a sound or sounds.
Children typically learn to produce different speech sounds gradually. To track your child's progress and gain insights into your child's speech development journey, this chart below showcases the typical acquisition timeline for various consonant sounds.
A phonological delay occurs when your child makes predictable patterns of speech sound errors. For example, “tar” for car, “gog” as dog, “wed” as red or “tar” as star.
Disclaimer: Age of elimination can vary widely among individuals. This is not a complete list of ALL phonological processes but is some of the most common ones seen among children.
Signs To Look For
Common Speech Problems That Impact Speech Clarity Include:
Treatment For Articulation and Phonological Disorders
The following treatment options are available for children and adolescents at The Speech Practice:
2. Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)
Childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) is a neurological speech sound disorder where children have difficulties planning the sequence of movements (i.e. their lips, tongue, and jaw) to produce speech sounds. Children will not outgrow the disorder.
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS) is also known as:
Sometimes, CAS is accompanied by oral apraxia. Oral dyspraxia occurs when the child has difficulty doing oral movements on command. For example, a child can lick a lollipop but cannot stick out their tongue when commanded.
Signs of Childhood Apraxia of Speech:
Treatment for Childhood Apraxia of Speech
The top conditions diagnosed among young children today are speech and language delays and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Between 2010 to 2014, a 76% increase in cases were seen in SingaporeA .
Early intervention in the first 7 years of a child’s life are critical windows for development intellectually, socially and emotionally as brain plasticity is maximal early in lifeB.
Intervening early minimizes and in most cases, decreases the need for future intervention while building confidence and social communication skills.
A Source: KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital, National University Hospital, Today, 14 February 2016
B Mundkur, N. (2005). Neuroplasticity in children. Indian Journal of Pediatrics, 72(10), 855-857.
Does My Child Have a Language Delay?
Early Red Flags:
Expressive and Receptive Language Skills
Language refers to a system used to communicate with another person. This includes an understanding of word meanings, how words are put together and using language in different social situations. Language is divided into:
Receptive language skills include:
Treatment Options for Language, Reading Comprehension and Social Communication Skills
For children with Language Delays:
For Reading Comprehension and Social Communication skills: