Speech Development – Speech Sounds Difficulties

young girl teacher reading a book to younger boy

Speech Sound Difficulties

It is normal for children to still be developing their speech sounds and pronunciation until the age of 5/6 – see typical speech development.

If a child’s speech sound errors are not normal for their age, they may have speech sound delay or speech sound disorder. Speech sound delay is when a child follows the normal pattern of speech sound development but at a slower rate than their peers. If they are significantly delayed or with quite a few sounds, they may benefit from some therapy to help. Speech sound disorder is when a child makes errors that we would not expect, such as adding in sounds, leaving sounds off the start of words or having a reduced range of consonants. We might want to check a child’s hearing, to be sure they can hear a wide range of sounds.

In some cases, children are later identified as having developmental verbal dyspraxia, where they have difficulty making and co-ordinating the precise movements needed to produce clear speech. Speech difficulties may also be associated with a medical diagnosis such as cleft palate, cerebral palsy, hearing impairment or global developmental delay.

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