What are Speech sound difficulties?

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’

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