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Speech Sound Development

The following is a list of when 75% of children have mastered speech sounds. (Photo Articulation Test, 1969, Pendergast et al, and Stoel-Gammon, 1985.)

 

Limited consonant sound use results in unintelligible speech and often indicates a motor speech disorder (apraxia) or phonological disorder. Check out these norms and the list of “red flags” which indicate that speech therapy is likely needed to help your child learn to be understood.

 

By 18 months 

Child produces 3 to 6 different consonant sounds with each child having a little different consonant inventory.

 

By 24 months 

Initial Sounds – /p, b, m, t, n, d, h, k, g/

Final Sounds – /p, m, n/

Produces Most Vowel Sounds Correctly and at least 6-8 different consonant sounds.

 

By 28 months 

Initial Sounds  /d, f,  and y/

Final Sounds – /s, d, k, f/ and n /

 

By 32 months 

Initial Sounds – /w/

Final Sounds – /t, b, r/

 

By 36 months 

Initial Sounds – /s/

Final Sounds – /l, g/ and /er/ endings

Child uses at least 9-12 different consonant sounds.

 

By 40 months 

Initial Sounds – /l, r/

Some consonant blends  bl, br, tr

Final Sounds  /v/ and sh

 

By 44 months 

Initial Sounds sh and ch and fl

Final Sounds ch

 

By 48 months 

Initial  sp, st, kl

 

After 48 months 

Initial – /z, v/ and j and th

Final – /z/ and th and j

 

RED FLAGS for CHILD’S ARTICULATION SKILLS that warrant a referral to a speech-language pathologist for evaluation. (Stoel-Gammon 1994).

Numerous Vowel Errors

 Most children have mastered nearly all vowel sounds by age 2. Some errors are still acceptable are age 2, but by age 3, all vowels be mastered (with exception of /r/ vowels).

 

 Widespread Deletion of Initial Consonants

 By 2 a child should use at least 3 to 4 different consonant sounds at the beginnings of words.

 By 3 a child should have a large repertoire of initial consonants.

 

 Substitution of Back Consonants /k/ and /g/ or /h/ for a variety of Consonants

 This is atypical phonological development and should be targeted even in very young children.

 

 Deletion of Final Consonants after age 3

 By 24 months in language delayed children some final consonant deletions are expected, but by 36 months, all children should be producing words with ending consonant sounds.

 

Again there is variation in individual children, but for the most part, parents should understand close to all of what a child says by age 3, and strangers should understand all of what a child says by age 4, even if errors are still present.

For more information about how to treat speech sound disorders, check out my DVD Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders. Here’s the link –

http://teachmetotalk.com/2009/08/21/teach-me-to-talk-with-apraxia-and-phonological-disorders-dvd-now-available/

 

 

I also want to share with you a FANTASTIC quick resource for practically all Communication Milestones in young children from Linguisystems. It’s evidence based and a it’s FREE download. I use my hard copy all the time! You have to become a member of Linguisystems first, but you can get the online version here:

Communication Milestones 

Posted in

Laura

42 Comments

  1. Anna on October 6, 2009 at 10:31 am

    My daughter just turned 3 on 10-2-09 and has been exposed to three different languages. English, arabic and spanish. Her speech in English is unclear at times. One speech therapist told me she has articulation disorder and the other said phonological disorder. Which of your DVD will help me work with her and would she out grow this with Speech therapy two hours a week. Please tell me what you think I can do to help her.

  2. Laura on October 7, 2009 at 8:49 am

    Anna – My new DVD Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorder is the one you need since it will teach you ways to work on speech sounds at home. She should make significant progress with therapy AND with you helping her at home, so try not to worry!! But don’t let that stop you from doing all you can to help her! Good luck!! Laura

  3. Jen on November 19, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    My 12 month old is starting to talk and has about 10 words in her vocabulary. Consonants include m, b, d, h, n. Here’s my concern. Recently, she picked up the word “comb” but she deletes the initial consonant so that it sounds like “om.” She also tried to repeat the word “cow” and it came out as “ow.” Similarly, when she says the word “hot” she is inconsistent with the “h” sound. Sometimes it’s present, other times it is not.
    She has never made any /g/ or /k/ sounds, not even as a younger infant during the cooing and babbling stages. She does use initial consonant sounds in words like mama, dada, bubbles (sounds like bubu), baby, pop (sounds like bop).

    I realize she’s very young still, but I’m worried because most of reading I’ve done indicates that initial consonant deletion is atypical. Please tell me what you think. Thank you.

  4. Laura on November 20, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Jen – I wouldn’t be concerned AT ALL about her. Sometimes /g/ and /k/ don’t emerge until later. By 2 toddlers should use 6-8 consonants consistently in words, and she’s already doing that. Don’t worry and keep up the good work you’re obviously doing with her!! Laura

  5. Debbie on January 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

    My daughter (a twin – her brother’s speech is extremely advanced) is 33.5 months old and does not use s, f, k, or g sounds, except plural s. She can make all the sounds in isolation, but in speech she substitutes a “d” sound. About once a day she asks for something I just can’t understand. In all other ways, she’s well ahead of normal.
    I’ve worked hard with her the last few weeks, just on f and s. She can now do s+consonant combinations (“snow”), but not s+vowel or any f’s. (For example, “flower” is “fff-dower” and “see” is “sss-dee.” “Skateboard” has improved to “sss-dateboard.”)
    Where we live now, it would be hard for me to get her to & from therapy. We’ll move to a better place shortly after she turns 4, but I don’t want to wait if she needs help now. What would you recommend?

  6. Laura on January 22, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    Debbie – All of the sounds you listed are later consonants, meaning they are not among the first to develop. It’s perfectly fine for her to still use substitutions for those sounds at her age. Remember that the list above is when 75% of children have mastered the sounds, so there’s still room for a child to not have acquired a sound yet, but still be developing “normally.”

    I have written an article with some sound cues for consonants, but when I looked for it for another mom today, I discovered it’s not there. I plan to repost it over the weekend so check back for “hints” for how to target some of those sounds.

    Since it would be hard to get to and from therapy right now, try working with her at home. In my opinion, it’s not going to hurt her to wait. It also sounds like that she’ right on the verge of mastering some of those sounds too by how you’ve described her pronunciation of words. Keep at it! It sounds like you’re doing fine with her, and if she doesn’t get it with “mommy therapy” you can always do that after you move.

    Thanks for the question!! Laura

  7. Toni on February 3, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Dear Laura,

    My daughter is almost 15 months and seems to be adding new words every week. I was upset at first because many/most of her words contain what I thought were “errors,” but after doing LOTS of reading (including your blog) I’ve come to realize that her errors fit under typical phonological processes. She’s “big” on final consonant deletion, voicing, and fronting. She will sometimes combine these processes as well so that a word like “key” comes out as “dee” (fronting with voicing…I believe??)

    Recently, however, I’ve noticed another pattern and I’d like your help in determining whether or not she is using a phonological process or truly making a non-developmental error. If I ask her to say the word “so” she says “do” which means that she is “stopping” the /s/. However, if I then ask her to say the word “soap” she says “bo.” Same thing for the words key and keep. “Key” becomes “dee” (as I mentioned above) but “keep” becomes “bee.”

    I am sick with worry over this and am literally losing sleep thinking that she is reversing sounds, but when I look at the list of typical phonological processes, I see that there is something called consonant harmony whereby the pronunciation of a whole word is influenced by the presence of a particular sound in the word. Is THIS what she is doing (along with final consonant deletion) or IS she reversing sounds? She says “up” and “no” and “on” perfectly, if that means anything.

    As I said, I am sick over the thought that she may have a REAL problem. Please help. I am actually crying right now, I’m so worried about her.

  8. Laura on February 3, 2010 at 9:21 pm

    Toni – Oh my goodness! I wish I could see you in person to help you calm down! Your daughter is very, very, very young and you have already done waaaaay more analysis on her than even the most cautious speech-language pathologist would do for her at this age. I don’t want to minimize your concern, but to be overly worried about her articulation at this point is very premature.

    Language – that is adding new words – is much more important at this point than speech sound errors. Many, many toddlers (including all 3 of my own children!) have multiple errors in their initial vocabularies. Just keep modeling words correctly for her without over-correcting her so that she doesn’t become frustrated. Don’t put pressure on her either because this could actually make it worse for her, and you certainly don’t want her to feel like her mommy doesn’t think she’s absolutely wonderful and isn’t correcting every single word that comes out of her little mouth. At this age, rewarding her effort and her LANGUAGE is much, much more important than how she sounds.

    If she’s still making lots of errors after 2 that aren’t typical, see an SLP at that point. Until then, celebrate her language which seems to be blossoming. Pat yourself on the back too because you’re definitely doing something right! Laura

  9. Corrin on February 6, 2010 at 9:25 am

    I am a Early Intervention SLP who is needing help with a set of twins on my caseload. They will turn 3 years old on 4-2-10. I have never encountered an experience like theirs. They have their own little language & are able to understand each other. Their big sister is 4 years old & is now able to understand them as well. Their mother just stated today – she doesn’t understand why they say words but no one can understand them. They substitute the consonant /h/ for almost everything.

    Here are some examples:
    boat – /h??/
    fish- /hI/
    flower-/ha?h/
    gum-/h?/
    leaf-/hi/
    pop-/hap/
    spoon-/hun/ one says /hu/
    thumb-/h?/
    nose-/h??/
    sock-/ha/
    swimming-/hhi/
    teeth/hi/
    chair-/h?/
    Words correctly produced: help, ball, bubble, pop

    They are soooo incredibly unintelligible & just curious if you could offer any advice. Anything would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Laura on February 7, 2010 at 10:15 pm

    Corrin – This is a hard one! Using /h/ as a substitution for consonants is atypical, but I have occasionally seen it in children on my caseload, so it’s not unheard of.

    It’s great that they have an initial /b/ and /p/ for a couple of words, so build on this by targeting bilabials for words in play. Other than the h/t in teeth, h/b in boat, and h/n in nose, all of the other words you mentioned begin with later-developing consonants, so while /h/ isn’t a typical substitution, it’s not as “severe” as the substitution for the /t, h, b/ since they are early-developing consonants.

    Have you tried some early consonant sound cues too – /p/ is the popper sound, /t/ is your tippy/tapper sound etc….? Associate them with the sound’s properties. David Hammer, an apraxia expert, recommends this method, and it is very successful with toddlers. There’s an article about these here on the site, but you can SEE these kinds of cues in my DVD Teach Me To Talk with Apraxia and Phonological Disorders, as well as other cues that work to target intelligibility in toddlers.

    Other ideas – have you tried teaching them signs to pair with key words so it helps mom (and everyone else!) with intelligibility? Sometimes this slows kids down long enough for articulation to improve, or at least get closer to the target.

    Hope these ideas can be of some help for your last couple of months of treatment!! Laura

  11. Katherine on February 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I’m an EI SLP in her CFY-year (yay done with school!). I have a question about a kiddo on my caseload. He’s 2;7 (or around that, international adoption so who knows for sure!). We’ve been working very hard on language development and he can now use 2 and 3 word phrases fairly consistently, although he . The problem is he is still EXTREMELY jargon-y, especially in new situations or with new people. He will string together entire paragraphs of sounds while using in my estimation about 2-3 actual words. To be on the safe side, I went ahead and did an artic test to see if we were just missing a lot of sounds, he scored 83 so just outside of wnl, and he is so young I really wasn’t overly concerned. The words he has are pretty consistent in production, so apraxia wasn’t really on my radar, but now I’m starting to wonder if there is something that I’m missing. Do you think that beginning to target sound production is appropriate?

    Thank you!

  12. Laura on February 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Katherine – I have really come to believe that when a child this old is still using jargon that there’s almost always an underlying receptive/processing problem. So what does this mean for treatment? Keep working on making sure he is learning to understand new words and concepts so that he has the vocabulary base to pull from and can use real words to form sentences. I still believe that some kids use jargon as an in-between step from single words to phrases, but I now don’t just look at this as purely an expressive language issue. Since his artic test scores were so good, I don’t think I’d target artic yet. Keep working on language since it really may be a processing or even a word retrieval issue.

    What I recommend parents do for jargon is to use breakdowns/build-ups. Pick out what you think the child tried to say (the breakdown part), and model that with a key word or two. Encourage him/her to imitate that word or two-word phrase. Then expand that key word or 2 word phrase to by a word a two to make the utterance longer, and have him repeat that too (the build-up part).

    Of course I can’t see this kid and I could be wrong 🙂 But hopefully these ideas will help point you in the right direction. Laura

  13. Lynne on February 25, 2010 at 1:27 pm

    Hi there!

    I have a 20 month old son who I have some concerns about. He isn’t currently using the following consonants: c,f,g,k,l,s,v,z. He also leaves the ending off of all words ending in consonants. For example, he says “baw” for ball, “daw” for dog, “ni-ni” for night-night, “duh” for done, etc. The only words he seems to say clearly are hi, bye, mama, dadda, nanny, yeah, no, wow, whoa, uh-oh, ewww, weee, boo-boo, yo-yo, bubble, bee, boo-boo,and some animals sounds (moo, neigh, baaaa, meh, hoo). Is this normal? Any tips on getting him to use more consonants? He is very active and constantly on the move. Which dvd would be best for me to purchase? Thank you so much for your time. Some people think I’m just a paranoid first time mom but I’d rather catch it sooner than later if there is a problem.

    -Lynne

  14. Jana on February 25, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Laura,
    I am seeing what you wrote to Katherine about the use of jargon, and at what age range would you say is the ‘norm’ for using jargon. Jakob uses a ton of jargon, but he’s just now two. I have not really seen any proof of him having a reception problem, so that would mean a retrieval problem.

    Thanks,

  15. Lynne on March 1, 2010 at 7:35 am

    Laura,

    It’s me again 🙂 Sorry to bother you, but you never responded to my comment. I was hoping for some suggestions/help. I also wanted to know which dvd would be the best for me to purchase. I posted a comment on February 25 about my son not using many consonants and leaving off the endings of words.

    Thanks,
    Lynne

  16. Laura on March 1, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Sorry Lynne! I totally overlooked your comment! ALL of the consonants you listed are later developing consonants, so no need at all to be worried about these sounds yet. It’s also okay that he’s not using final sounds yet since many children can’t do this until 2 1/2 to 3. His vocabulary looks fine for his age too.

    If you want to be proactive I’d recommend Teach Me To Talk since it outlines expressive language strategies. If he doesn’t add more consonants by 2 1/2 then you may want to take a look at the Apraxia/Phonological Disorders one and/or have him formally evaluated so someone besides me can tell you not to worry 🙂 Laura

  17. Lynne on March 2, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Laura,

    Thank you for responding:) I will definitely consider the Teach Me to Talk dvd. I forgot to mention in the previous email that he drinks out of his straw cups from the side of his mouth instead of the center of his mouth. Is this something to be concerned about?

  18. Rachel on March 11, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    Laura, my son is 11 and still having issues with some sounds. He has seen therapists but the method used was mostly the oral exercises you have mentioned in a few articles and they did not work. She focused a lot on his posture and having him do rowing exercises (yes with his arms and a broom). The sounds we have the biggest problems with are his r’s and his l’s. He can say them correctly if we have him focus on his speech and slow down. He does nit have problems with all words with those sounds. It sounds like you work with mostly younger kids so I am not sure if you can help me or not. We were never given a diagnoses fir him either. Do you have any ideas / suggestions? One word that hebused to gave trouble with an no longer dies is lollipop – we would have him sing it b/c we noticed that if he sang it he said it correctly, he always gets it correct now. Thanks!

  19. Laura on March 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Rachel – My clinical area of interest is with toddlers and young preschoolers. My advice is to keep working on those sounds with the ideas the SLP has given you. What’s more important than anything for an 11 year old is knowing how/where to place his tongue for both /l/ and /r/. If he can do it in single words, then most of your practice needs to be at the phrase level. By 11, he’s ready for traditional “drill” speech therapy too where you practice and practice the sound in words, then phrases, then in sentences with LOTS of feedback about how he sounds and if he’s accurate or not. Your goal should be to get him to self-monitor and know himself if he’s said it correctly or not. Ask him when he’s wrong AND when he’s right, did you say that the right way? This helps him learn to be his own therapist and correct himself without any external reminders, but this may not happen for a while. Your singing idea is great too, but have him sing it then say it, sing it then say it. Again I don’t work with kids this age – 11 is geriatrics to me:) – so you’ll probably be able to find better ideas at sites that focus on older kids. I applaud your efforts to help him. NEVER give up on him learning to say it correctly. It’s not too late!! Laura

  20. Maureen C. on March 13, 2010 at 10:25 am

    Greetings, I am the Mom of a funny little 2yr old girl that constantly falls down and although she is okay at saying individual words once she starts trying to string the sentences together it comes out as babble. Her older sister was speaking in full sentences by 1 so I have an bad frame of reference in which to judge. She seems to sing better than she speaks if that makes sense.
    Is there something that I could work on with her to help improve these areas.

  21. Laura on March 13, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Maureen – It sounds like to me she could still be using lots of jargon, which is different than using real words with speech sound substitutions.

    What I target with kids like this is to have them work on imitating two-word phrases in play, rather than aiming for a whole sentence. If she’s used a longer utterance and think you know what she intended to say, model a short two-word phrase and then have her repeat you. When she’s using single words, expand those to phrases by adding one additional word, and then have her repeat you. These strategies are called break-downs (for the first one) and build-ups (for the second one).

    When kids use jargon long past their second birthdays, it could also be an indicator that a child is struggling to process or understand language too. You’ll want to take a close look at this since untreated underlying processing or comprehension problems can become problematic when she starts school. If you’re in doubt about his, I’d highly recommend that you have her evaluated by a pediatric speech-language pathologist so you can address any issues now.

    The reasons many kids appear to be intelligible in singing is that we know what words come next, so it gives us a frame of reference to know what the words should be.

    I’m not sure what you mean by falling down a lot. You’ll want to mention this to your pediatrician and describe it in detail so you can get advice.

    Hope this info is helpful for you. Thanks for your questions. Laura

  22. keisha on March 18, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Hi Laura
    I have a 32 month old that uses a lot of jargon when he speaks. I had him evaluated six months ago and although he was found to have a delay, it wasn’t enough to qualify for services. He is an extremely bright boy knows all his letters and sounds, recognizes numbers 1-10, know animals and their sounds, knows colors and shapes, and he is even starting to read a few cvc words like cat, bed, dog. I am almost certain that he does not have a receptive language problem, but I cannot understand why he uses so much jargon when speaking.

    Sometimes when he is really excited he speaks really clearly and his speech is almost jargon free. Like on our way to the park, he’ll say “look mommy, that’s the park, right there, come on, let’s go the swing, I love swing”. And other times, he’ll say words mixed with a lot of jargon in between. For example, if I asked what did you do in school, he’ll say I did letters followed by jargon, playground then some jargon, snack and more jargon. Because I am accustomed to his speaking, I can pick up the words that he is saying, but a stranger listening to him would not be able to pick out his words in the midst of all the jargon. I am in the process of getting him reevaluated and wanted to know if there is anything that I can do in the meanwhile or if you had any advice concerning his speech.

  23. Laura on March 25, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Keisha – I’m glad you’re having him re-evaluated. It sounds like he could possibly have an underlying processing problem which is very different from knowing all of those pre-academic skills you rattled off.

    I now really believe that most of the time, excessive jargon after age 2 is related to receptive language or processing problems. However, I used to view jargon, even after 2, as an in-between step when kids are moving from short phrases to sentences,and this could be the case for him. He still may not have the vocabulary to be able to “fill in” all of those extra words he wants to say and only has enough word recall to be able to hit the highlights, so to speak.

    To target this, use build-ups and break-downs. When he’s using jargon and you hear those key words, repeat them to clarify that’s what he’s talking about (the break down part), then model a short 2-3 word phrase to “recast” what he’s tried to say (the build-up part). Encourage him to imitate you. Do this very, very consistently with him.
    I have one little boy on my caseload right now who sounds so much like your son, and his parents are very successfully using these strategies to work with him at home and he is now using many more “real” phrases than before. However, when he moves on to try longer utterances, he reverts to jargon, telling us that he can’t yet do 4+ words consistently yet, and that’s okay. He’ll get there and so will your little boy, but I do hope he qualifies for therapy now so that someone can teach you ways to work with him at home that are very specific to him rather than these general recommendations. In the meantime, I hope you find these tips helpful! Laura

  24. Mimi on May 14, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    my daughter has always been very verbal – expresses herself well, uses multi-word sentences, large vocabulary, repeats instructions to her dolls, etc. she will be three in june. within just the last week or so, she has started substituting the letter H for other consonants (e.g. turn becomes horn, because becomes behause, etc.). When I point it out to her, she sometimes corrects herself and sometimes doesn’t. it worries me because it doesn’t seem to be deliberate word play. I also worry because she seems to be a fairly anxious child with some self-soothing behaviors (like rubbing her lip with her thumb) that I’m just not sure are normal. she’s also (shocking for an almost three year old) very stubborn and stormy. any thoughts? do I just keep correcting her when she uses H?

  25. Maureen C. on May 15, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Laura,

    Just a word of thanks. 26month old Sophia is much more verbal than 24month Sophia. The break downs really helped. The falling down however seems to be that she has large feet for her size. I’ll try to keep that little gem to myself when she gets older.
    Thank you.
    Maureen.

  26. Victoria on May 15, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    I love your show! It has helped me so much in working with my daughters. I have 21 month old twins who were born 3 weeks early but had normal weights and didn’t require any extra hospital time. They have been late at everything, crawling, walking and now speech. They both babble, but they don’t have a large repertoire of sounds. They will try and imitate sometimes.

    They have both been in early intervention since they were 9 months old because of their gross and fine motor skills. One daughter, Emma, no longer qualifies for services since she was evaluated at or above age level in all areas even language even though she regularly uses only 3 words. Emma has a signing vocabulary of 150 words and signs sentences. She has excellent receptive language skills and understands whatever is asked of her. Her twin, Lily, is still receiving services and has a few more issues than delayed speech. She has sensory processing issues, fine motor issues,feeding problems, and her attention can use some work. Lily knows about 100 signs and has 2 words at 21 months. She has made progress though it has been slow going. We are having her evaluated to rule out autism though I don’t think that is it. She is happy and social with family, friends and strangers. Lily will share items and uses siging to communicate. Lily LOVES any toy that makes noise, lights up or plays music. She also loves to listen to music and will sign to us that she “wants music.” She plays with noisy toys constantly but would not consistently respond to her name when playing. It was like she was in a trance with these toys. When I took her for a wagon ride around the block I asked her a bunch of questions and she responded (signed) immediately. It then occured to me that maybe the noisy toys were to blame for her lack of attention at home. We have starting putting away some each night to see if anything changes with her attention. What you wrote on your site about these noisy toys is so true. I wanted to know if Lily’s behavior seems like it falls on the autism spectrum to you.

    I am also wondering if the signing is a hinderance to my girls. It has been great to have them communicate with us without frustration, but they are so good at it that I wonder if they have less incentive to talk. Would you stop responding to some of their signs to motivate them?

    Thanks in advance and thank you so much for providing this wonderful service to moms who just want what most parents take for granted.

    Victoria

  27. Laura on May 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Mimi – Using /h/ for initial consonants in atpyical. You’re doing the right thing by modeling the correct version of the word. Since she’s anxious by nature, don’t put too much pressure on her to imitate correctly, but praise her when she does. If she continues to do this and her intelligibility takes a nose dive, puruse a speech eval for her. Until then, keep up the good work at home with her! Laura

  28. Laura on May 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Maureen – I’m so happy to hear about Sophia’s progress! Hooray for her and you!! Comments like these are the reason I operate this site, so thanks for making my day! Laura

  29. Laura on May 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Victoria – I’m so glad you love the show! It’s so great to hear positive feedback from moms we help – thank you!! I know it feels like signing might be keeping them from talking, but it really doesn’t. Keep pushing the words with the signs. Say, “Tell me too!!!” Model the words for signs and elongate thsoe words – “mmmmmmmmmoooooooorrrrrreeee” rather than more, so they are “more” inclined to imitate your words. Continue with those early play sounds too – like we’ve discussed often on the show lately. Don’t forget to make it fun, fun, fun so they’ll want to copy your words/sounds in play too.

    Definitely ditch those noisy toys. If she has difficulty processing speech and language, she’s tuning out in the midst of all of that noise. If you don’t have the heart to do it all at once, let the batteries run down and don’t replace them. Sing, sing, sing to her if she loves music. A real-live mom is TONS better than any toy – even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Sing anyway! If you need more ideas, I’m about to publish a book of early songs, games and play routines for parents. I’m sure I’ll be talking about it a lot when it’s out in the next month or so on the show, so stayed tuned!

    Kate and I would love to hear from you! Call us if you ever have another question and you’re free at 2 pm on Thursdays! Thanks again! Laura

  30. Melanie on September 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Hello ~ first, I’d need to tell you your site is wonderful! My son Ryan is turning 3 on 9/13 and he is having some speech issues. He really didn’t start talking until 2.5 yo. Though I was concerned, his doctor was not so I waited to have him evaluated. When I did have him evaluated, he scored in the bottom 4% for expressive language. I am happy to say that after working with a talented therapist, he is talking all the time. The new issue is when he talks it is with final consonant deletions. I try to break down the word and have him repeat but he goes back to “caaa” for “cat” or he’ll transpose consonants so instead of “cat”, he’ll say, “taaaa”. He also has a lot of difficulty with sentence structure “Lay down me” (omitting “with”). I constantly repeat the correct version to him.
    I guess I’m looking for some hope. It is so hard to see him struggle and not progress as his peers. As I said, his therapist is wonderful but I feel like I need to be doing more with him at home. Do you have any suggestions? I purchased your “Teach Me to Talk” when I had him evaluated and the techniques really worked. Do you have any other videos that address the issues listed above? Thanks SO much for your help! Melanie 🙂

  31. shanell on September 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Hello, I love this site. I remember you used to have some really great information about getting your child to produce /p/,/m/,/b/ etc. on this page. I clicked on the the link and I believe it no longer works. Do you have an updated link for it?

  32. Parent-19 months on December 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I have a 19 month old boy who has a great vocabulary, but he frequently deletes the beginning sounds. The rest of the word is very clear, but since the intial sound is often deleted I feel that his speech is not as clear as it could be. Is it normal for a child my son’s age to do this? When should I be concerned?

  33. Mom to 21 month old on May 15, 2011 at 12:18 am

    My daughter seems to be doing well with her speech. Over 50 words and already using 2 and 3 word “sentences”. The one thing I am a little concerned about is maybe 3 or 4 words she used to say them properly and now she has shortcuts for them. For instance, she used to say Grandma and now she looks at Grandma and says “Grmmm”. Should I be concerned?

    Thanks!

  34. Laura on May 23, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Mom to 21 month old… Since her language is moving along so nicely, I wouldn’t be too concerned. Just model how she should say the word, and encourage her to imitate you, without overcorrection. I like to make a joke of it saying, “What???” Did you say, “Grandma?” Don’t model her errors, but rather how she should say it. Laura

  35. Lou Anne on June 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Dear Laura,
    My son is 3 & 1/2 has great language fluency but is poor articulation. We have had a new SLP who is prompt certified for 1 month now and she is having trouble connecting with him. She touches his mouth for every word and seems to be making my son uncomfortable but he does tolerate it. To give you some background he has been receiving speech therapy since age 2. He has been in a preschool through the public schools this past school year and received speech therapy twice a week there. He also received hearing aids 3 weeks ago for mild/moderate hearing loss from perforated ear drums from complications from ear tubes. At 23 months he had about 50 sign language words with only 6 verbal so they labeled him with apraxia. I can remember simple words like Moo were hard. The SLP we have had for the past year was awesome and he has progressed where he talks in 5 to 7 word sentences. He consistantly makes the same errors with articulation. Is this truly apraxia or a result of him not hearing correctly? The developmental pediatrician has never agreed with the apraxia label. Our visit with him last week revealed no delay in language except for articulation. The doctor believes the hearing aids will clear up the problems with articulation. How should I approach the new SLP with my concerns? I feel like I am wasting my time because he is not getting anything from the sessions. I appreciate any input you might have.

  36. Laura on June 16, 2011 at 7:33 am

    Lou Anne – I think it’s important that your child LOVE speech therapy and like, or at least tolerate his SLP. That’s clearly not happening with the new SLP and I’d openly share your concerns with her telling her that she’d get a better response from him if she’s more playful like your previous SLP. She may not like hearing this, but in the end, you’re more concerned with your son and his progress more that anyone else’s feelings, so I’d go ahead and have that difficult conversation.

    It’s very difficult for me to know if his errors are due to hearing loss, or apraxia, or something else such as a phonological disorder since I can’t see him, but your therapist should be able to help you tease out those diagnostic differences. No offense to your pediatrician, but the SLP will be more skilled in determining what’s really going on since she’s the expert in communication and speech-language issues. If the current SLP isn’t helpful, move on to find one that’s sensitive to what your child responds to and one that will address your concerns about finding an appropriate diagnosis. Perhaps calling your previous SLP for some additional insight and advice will help you as well. Good luck! Laura

  37. Nicole on August 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    I have a son that will be 3 in 2 months. He has been in the early intervention system since 15 months because at that time the only thing he could say was “da”. He has always been several months ahead with his receptive language abilities and could use 200+ signs before he could use any words. His first words were “yuck” and “dark” right before he turned 2. He has a lot of words now and will combine 5 or 6, but I definitely don’t understand most of what he is saying. He drops syllables off of some words and drops consonants off of the ends most words.

    I’m starting to get nervous because he will be transitioning into the school district and I just want to make sure he is getting the therapy he needs. The early intervention program and the school district won’t make any kind of diagnosis but from what I’ve read some disorders require a special type of therapy to get the maximum benefit. I guess I’m just wondering what you would suggest…does it sound like I need to get him evaluated somewhere that would make a diagnosis if there is one? Or does it sound like a typical speech delay? I don’t even know where to start. I just stumbled across your site recently and wish I had found it sooner! I can’t wait to do some more reading.

  38. Laura on August 24, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Nicole – Of course I can’t see him to say for sure what’s going on, but if there is an official diagnosis rather than “delay,” you’re likely to get more services than not.

    I would definitely seek a “second opinion” so that you’re having another set of eyes look at him and make objective recommendations, particularly if this is an eval only appointment and there’s nothing to gain for the evaluator. The specific errors you’re describing are pretty common, BUT his level of intelligibility should be better, even if he’s omitting consonants at the ends of words and syllables, so I’d definitely push for services and a “diagnosis” if there is one. Good luck with him! Laura

  39. Jeff on September 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    My wife and I are concerned about our daughter who is 12.5 months. She was a late babbler (around 9.5 months) and all her babbling seems pretty limited. Typical babbles are “bababa”, “babobeba”, “ayaydideya” or “dididi”. (She has said dada but not often). So, in babble, she can make b, d and y sounds predominantly but favors b and y. She only has three words right now– bye, up (uhh) and yea (in answer to questions she seems to understand)… no dada as a word, and no mama, even as babble. We heard babbles with the w, l and even what sounded like ‘r’ sounds for a while, but not in the past month or so. She has also made m, p, t and n sounds, but very rarely (said ma or mee once or twice and says ‘mmm’ for eating, and once or twice in the past month said ‘ata’ or ‘neh’.) My wife is concerned that this could be an early apraxia flag and we wanted your opinion. We talk to her slowly and clearly, exaggerate words, sing songs and rhymes, and everything else we can think of, but she also doesn’t seem big on modeling sounds (sometimes you can literally see her start to, but hesitate). Her hearing has been checked twice and is good. What should we do?

  40. Jeff on September 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Should also mention that she models gestures quite well, just not sounds. She knows 4 signs — just the ones we have showed her — and we plan on teaching her more.

  41. Brooke on September 7, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Hi! I noticed these comments are from a few years ago, but I’m hoping maybe you”ll still see this! My son is 2 1/2 years old. He speaks a lot and loves to say the alphabet and count his numbers, however he mixes up several beginning sounds. He will sub /b/ for /s/ as in boobus for school bus and /t/ for /c/ as in tar for car. I have always been able to understand him from context clues or just from knowing his language but my mom recently brought it to my attention. I’m happy to work with him (former educator) but wasn’t sure how to present the sounds and also I was curious if he needs to be evaluated or if this is something that will self correct? I had a lisp as a child that just kind of went away on its own. Any who, I sure hope you read these comments. I was VERY excited to come across this site and will continue to peruse it. Thank you!
    Brooke

  42. Ahuva on October 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Laura,

    I have a 3-year-old with a broad vocabulary, but he tends to invert words. He speaks Hebrew so I can’t give you any examples in English, but I’ll try to illustrate the issue with Hebrew words. His friend’s name is Shlomo and he calls him Shmolo. The word “open” is “patuah” and he says “tapuah.” Shoes are “na’alayim” and he says “la’anayim.” Is this concerning at this age?

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