My Child’s Speech

My Child’s Speech

  • What is speech?


Speech is the ability of the brain to move all your articulators (jaw, tongue, lips, muscles, etc.) to produce spoken words. A child’s speech is one of their most important abilities.


  • Is it normal for my child to have errors in his or her speech?

It is normal for children to have some errors in their speech. This is what is known as a simplified version of the adult speech. Children acquire speech sounds at different ages. Children are not supposed to have all of their speech sounds once they begin talking.


To see what sounds your child should be saying, refer to the Guide to Speech Sound Development on this site.


  • When should I be concerned about my child’s speech?


By age 3 years my child cannot:

  • Be understood by family and/or caregivers
  • Correctly produce vowels and such sounds as p, b, m, w in words
  • Repeat when not understood without becoming frustrated


By age 4 years my child cannot:

  • Be understood by individuals with whom they do not associate regularly
  • Be understood by family and/or caregivers
  • Correctly produce t, d, k, g, f
  • Be asked to repeat without becoming sensitive


By age 5 years my child cannot:

  • Be understood in all situations by most listeners
  • Correctly produce most speech sounds
  • Be asked to repeat without exhibiting frustration


Once your child arrives to school, they are typically referred to speech services if there are any concerns.


  • What can I do to facilitate my child’s articulation?


  1. Don’t directly imitate your child’s errors.
  2. Model good speech.
  3. Address health issues that may contribute to the problem.
  4. Read to your child.
  5. Play with your child.
  6. Talk to your child.

If your child is receiving services do all the above tips as well as:

  1. Be a practice partner.
  2. Ask your child’s SLP what you can do to practice at home.
  3. Don’t directly correct sounds that your child has not worked on yet.
  4. Use revision every day to address the articulation needs as a whole

Revision is the technique where you repeat what the child has said, but use the correct pronunciation.


You may want to give the sound a little extra emphasis. (Example–Child: Look at bu! Adult: Look at that bug! Go, bug, go!)


  • Where can I go for more information regarding speech or articulation disorders?

A good website that will show you exactly how each sound is produced, and what articulators (jaw, lips, tongue, etc.) are used to make these sounds is:


When you get to the website, choose American English.


Sounds are categorized by three things:

  1. Place – where the sound is made
  2. Manner – how the sound is made
  3. Voice – if the vocal folds vibrate when the sound is made


If you have concerns about your child’s speech, you can discuss your concerns with your child’s teacher or the speech-language pathologist.


Eunice B. Ledford MA, CCC-SLP

Speech/Language Pathologist

Junaluska Elementary




American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (n.d.) Speech Referral Guidelines for Pediatrics. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from


Hoeprich, Harriett. (n.d.). How Parents Can Help Facilitate Articulation Skills. Retrieved April 7, 2013, from