Have you ever been surprised when a relative or friend asks you to interpret what your child is saying?
It’s expected of all children that they will make mistakes as they learn to talk. And every child develops at different rates. In fact, each sound has a different age range attached to it.
But if your child continues to make mistakes with their speech, particularly when other children their age are speaking clearly, they may have a Speech Sound Disorder (SSD).
There are two types of Speech Sound Disorders
Articulation or making the sound.
This is where particular sounds are substituted, left off, added or changed. For example, ‘w’ for ‘r’ or ‘nana’ for ‘banana.
Phonological processes or the sound pattern.
This is when all particular sounds are said differently. For example substituting sounds made in the back of the mouth, ‘k’ or ‘g’ for the front, ‘t’ or ‘d’. So, ‘cup’ would become ‘tup’ or ‘go’ becomes ‘do’. About 75% of children will be able to make these sounds by the time they are three.
It’s really important to remember that when your child produces wrong sounds they aren’t being lazy or naughty. You help them to correct errors in their speech. How?…With these useful tips.
Naturally in conversation
For example if your child says, “I see a bish!” you can emphasise the correct pronunciation by saying, “Wow! What a big fish”. Don’t expect your child to repeat the word or produce the correct sound right there and then. Instead continue modelling the correct pronunciation so that your child can begin to hear the difference.
The more sounds are practised the clearer they will be in speech. Exaggerate both the sound and your facial expression to give a clear model for your child to copy. But remember to make the sounds not the letter. For example, ‘mmm’ not ‘em’.
Reinforce the correct sounds by making it fun
Below are some fun ways to reinforce sounds.
B The boat goes ‘bbb’ as it chugs along
The ball goes bbb bounce
Play peek-a-boo so your child focuses on saying ‘boo’
P Make a paper person bend by whispering a ‘p’ sound
M Things that taste good are ‘mmmm’
T Practice being a ‘ttt; ticking clock
D Play a pretend drum and make the sound ‘ddd’
F Imitate rabbit teeth and make the sound ‘fff’
V Noisy planes or cars go ‘vvvv’
It may be helpful to have your child assessed by a Speech Language Therapist who will be able to help your child learn how to create and differentiate between sounds.