To be able to speak clearly a child has to be able to:
- Hear the range of speech sounds – if you are concerned about your child’s hearing please ask your Health Visitor or GP to refer him/her for a hearing test
- Physically move the muscles that are used to make speech sounds and coordinate these movements
- Learn and use all the different speech sounds in the English sound system.
Learning to speak clearly is a complicated skill that begins when a baby is born and when they start to babble and continues developing throughout the pre-school years and into school.
Most children are using a range of speech sounds and can be easily understood by the age of 5 but they may still be making mistakes, for example saying “wing” instead of ‘ring’..
Children with speech sound problems may do any of the following:
- Speak unclearly
- Have trouble saying specific sounds
- Swap sounds around in words e.g. say “tat” for ‘cat’
- Sound like a much younger child e.g. miss out sounds and say “poon” for ‘spoon’ or “ca” for ‘cat’
What can you do to help?
- Get down to the child’s level and look at your child, face to face
- Do not ask a child to repeat a word if it’s spoken incorrectly, repeat back the correct word eg. child says: “Da car e-o” adult says: “yes daddy’s car is yellow”
- Play together so your child has a better chance to listen to you
Commonly found speech errors/difficulties!
Click on the examples below for activities to use with your child:
|My child says ‘t’ for ‘k’
e.g Says ‘tat’ for ‘cat’
|My child says for ‘b’ for’ ‘f’
e.g Says ‘bish for ‘fish’
|My child misses off the sounds at the end of words
e.g Says ‘bow’ for ‘boat’
|My child say ‘d’ for ‘g’
e.g says ‘dirl’ for ‘girl’
|My child says ‘d’ for ‘s’
e.g Says ‘door’ for ‘saw’