Sound familiar? Or maybe YOU can understand your child but no one else can. Also very common! Speaking clearly takes a lot of brain power, and a lot of coordination. Think about it, every time you want to say something, your brain has to think of the words, think of how to put the words together, then your brain has to tell your lips and tongue where to go and how to move for EVERY SOUND! It is complex and as adults we take it for granted. When young children are learning to talk, speech clarity often takes a back seat. When children’s sounds are developing, omissions, substitutions or inconsistent productions are common.

 Before 3 years of age, the following sound errors or patterns are very common.

  • Deleting final consonants (e.g., “ha” for “hat”)
  • Deleting the unstressed syllable (e.g. “nana” for “banana”)
  • Consonant Assimilation (e.g., “tat” for “cat”)
  • Repeating sounds or syllables (e.g. “baba” for “bottle”)

 At 18 months of age you should be able to understand your child 25% of the time, at 2 years of age, 50-75% of the time, and at 3 years of age you should be able to understand your child 75-100% of the time. 

Early 8 Sounds

Emerging development between ages 1-3 with consistent production ~3

/m/ as in “milk”

/b/ as in “baby”

/y/ as in “you”

/n/ as in “no”

/w/ as in “we”

/d/ as in “dada”

/p/ as in “pat”

/h/ at in “hi”

Middle 8 Sounds

Emerging Development Between ages 3-6 1⁄2 with Consistent production ~age51⁄2

/t/ as in “toe”

/ng/ as in “hopping”

/k/ as in “cup”

/g/ as in “go”

/f/ as in “fan”

/v/ as in “van”

/ch/ as in “chop”

/j/ as in “jump”

/s/ as in “see”

Late 8 Sounds

Emerging Development Between ages 5 -7 1⁄2 with Consistent production ~age71⁄2

/sh/ as in “shoe”

/th/ as in “think”

/th/ as in “that”

/r/ as in “red”

/z/ as in “zipper”

/l/ as in “lap”

“zh” as in “measure”


Tips for helping your child with speech clarity.

Below are some ideas on how you can help a child who has unclear speech. It will give you some general ideas before seeing a Speech Therapist.

  1. Get down to your childs level, so your child can see your mouth. Visual models can reinforce how to properly say certain sounds.
  2. Speak in a slow but natural way so your child is encouraged to speak at the same rate. Speaking quickly requires more refined coordination.
  3. Instead of asking your child to repeat the word, model the word back emphasizing the sound in error correctly (e.g., Your child says, “I want the big tar”, you can say,”You want the big Car?”.
  4. If you know your child can say the sound, you can give him/her choices (e.g. Do you want the “tar” or the “car”?) If they aren’t able to say the sound, offering choices would not be very helpful.
  5. If you have understood part of his sentence/conversation, repeat it back to him/her so he/she knows you have understood him. Building confidence is important so he/she keeps trying.
  6. Don’t’ pretend to understand but rather ask your child to “show you” what he/she wants.
  7. Use contextual and environmental cues as well as facial expressions and intontation to help you to figure out your child’s message.
  8. Promote good hearing. Good hearing is essential for the development of normal articulation. If you are concerned with your child’s articulation skills, it is always a good idea to have his/her hearing assessed.

If you are concerned with your child’s speech development contact us today. | 1 844 804 5437 |

One Response to I CAN’T UNDERSTAND MY CHILD! Tips For Helping Your Child With Speech Clarity.
  1. I like that you suggested that we should speak slowly. If my child was learning what to speak then I would want it to be as easy as possible for them. A professional speech therapist might be able to help you learn some tips for practicing at home.


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