Articulation refers to the way we produce speech sounds. As children develop spoken language, it is expected they will make speech errors, such as producing the letter /r/ as a /w/ as in saying “wed” for the color “red.” This is a typical part of the language acquisition process. However, these speech errors should resolve by certain points in development. If your child is not mastering the sounds appropriate for his or her age, it may be helpful to reach out to a speech therapist for a consultation.
What is typical speech development? Children begin to use certain speech sounds at particular ages. The sounds are sometimes grouped as the "early, middle, and late 8 sounds."
Early 8: By age 3 your child should be able to say the sounds "M" as in mama, "B" as I'm baby, "Y" as in you, "W" as in water, "N" as in no, "D" as in daddy, "P" as in pop, and "H" as in hat
Middle 8: By age 5 1/2 your child should be able to say the sounds "K" as in cup, "G" as in go, "T" as in two, "F" as in fish," "V" as in van, "CH" as in chew, and "J" as in juice
Late 8: By age 7 your child should be able to say the sounds "L" as in lion, "R" as in ring, "S" as I'm sand, "TH" as in think and the, "Z" as in zebra, "SH" as in show, and "ZH" as in measure
Who May Benefit from Speech Therapy for Articulation:
Children who may have difficulty producing speech sounds that should be acquired at an early age, such as the /p/ or /b/ sounds that are typically acquired by age 3.
Children who may continue to produce speech errors past the expected age.
Children who have difficulty being understood by family, friends, or teachers.
Children who are becoming frustrated at not being understood by others.
A speech-language pathologist can offer a comprehensive evaluation to assess whether a child’s speech errors are age-appropriate or whether he or she may benefit from speech therapy to improve articulation.