Articulation is one of the big challenges that children have when they are beginning to speak. Briefly, articulation is a child’s ability to correctly formulate and produce different phonemes (sounds).
Experts consider this a “speech sound disorder” in the motoric production of speech sounds. The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) reports that “Articulation approaches target each sound deviation and are often selected by the clinician when the child’s errors are assumed to be motor-based; the aim is correct production of the target sound(s).”
Stanford Children’s Health explains that “An articulation disorder is the inability to form certain word sounds correctly past a certain age. Word sounds may be dropped, added, distorted, or swapped. Keep in mind that some sound changes may be part of an accent, and are not speech errors. Signs of an articulation disorder can include:
Parents should understand that there are many reasons why children have speech issues, whether the cause is a developmental disorder, a genetic syndrome, due to hearing loss, or the result of brain damage. They should also remember not to take it personally, and that each child develops at their own rate. It’s not about bad parenting, or really anything to do with you. Take a breath. Take it one day at a time. Your child wants to speak as much as you do.
While most busy parents hope their children outgrow these types of issues, most need some sort of intervention. Getting help from professionals should be parents’ first choice, but don’t forget about Speech Blubs! Our app has games and speech activities especially designed with the help of speech therapists to get your child practicing while you’re waiting to see a therapist or even between sessions!
Start 14-day FREE #StayAtHome offer!
For some perspective, the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders(NIDCD) at the National Institute of Health (NIH), reports some quick statistics:
For even more perspective, ASHA presents the milestones for children’s articulation. The chart below shows the ages when most English-speaking children develop sounds. Children learning more than one language may develop some sounds earlier or later.
|By 3 months||Makes cooing sounds|
|By 5 months||Laughs and makes playful sounds|
|By 6 months||Makes speech-like babbling sounds like puh, ba, mi, da|
|By 1 year||Babbles longer strings of sounds like mimi, upup, bababa|
|By 3 years||Says m, n, h, w, p, b, t, d, k, g, and f in words;|
Familiar people understand the child’s speech
|By 4 years||Says y and v in words;|
May still make mistakes on the s, sh, ch, j, ng, th, z, l, and r sounds;
Most people understand the child’s speech
If your child seems to be behind these general milestones, contact a speech language pathologist (SLP) to have your child screened. The earlier these issues are checked, the sooner you can rule out other things like phonological processing.
Especially in this time of economic transition, parents on a budget wonder if seeing a therapist is worth the time and money. Studies show that targeted therapy can work for most children, depending on their individual circumstances. Pedia Plex notes that speech therapists “have a variety of articulation tests that they can conduct to identify the child’s specific areas of need. They may also evaluate the physical structure of their mouth and muscles to see if these oral functions are affecting how the child speaks and forms sounds.” There is actually a 7-step process for determining a child’s issues in pronouncing phonemes. For more information, check out our blog written by New Jersey SLP Stacie Bennett, “7 Steps of Articulation Therapy.”
Once you know which sounds are at issue, we have practical approaches, games, and speech therapy activities to work on them. See our other blogs on the subject:
The JJ and CH sounds are pairs – which means they are produced in the exact same location, but the JJ sound is produced with…
Here at Speech Blubs, we know that it’s important for you, as a parent, to be able to recognize when your child has an articulation…
Most of the time, if your child is having difficulty with this sound, they are either omitting it completely (deleting the sound) or substituting it…
That is because both of these sounds are produced in the same location. The only difference is voicing – /t/ is voiceless and /d/ is…
More specifically as to articulation games, see this blog:
If you have questions, or notice your children lagging behind their peers, ask a speech therapist about articulation therapy. In the meantime, try Speech Blubs to give you a better idea of where your child may be compared to the above milestones. Oh, and it has plenty of games and activities to keep your child busy while you work at home.
Leave them in the comments or send them to