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What Speech Sounds Should Your Child Be Able To Say?

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

All children make speech sound errors

Typical Speech Sound Development

When a child is learning to talk, they gradually learn to say different speech sounds. Children do make speech sound errors when they are learning. There is a pattern of speech sound errors or phonological processes that all typically developing children make.

While it is normal for a child to make speech sound errors when they are learning to talk, they are expected to master different speech sounds by a certain age. This is where age norms for speech sound development come in.

Age Norms for Speech Sound Development

There are actually different sets of age norms for speech sound development that speech and language therapists may refer to. While they are not all exactly the same, they are similar. The reason for the variation is that they were researched in different ways, at different times and on different English-speaking populations.

When we assess a child's speech in speech therapy, we usually do consider age norms, as they give us a guide to typical speech sound development. However, that's not all we consider. To find out more about what happens in a typical speech sound assessment, click here.

The following chart can be used as a quick reference guide to typical speech sound development. You can download it for free here.

Should I be concerned about my child's speech?

Our typical speech sound development chart does give you some guidance as to whether or not your child's speech is within the average range. When you look at it, you will be able to check if the sounds your child finds difficult are typically early developing sounds or later developing sounds. For example, if your child is 3 years old and they have difficulty saying the R sound in words, this is a later developing sound so there is probably not too much cause for concern yet (if that is the only difficult sound).

If you do have any concerns, seek an appointment with a speech and language therapist. Many will be able to briefly discuss your concerns with you via phone or email and determine if a speech sound assessment is required.

We hope you have found this blog post helpful. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment below. Thanks for reading.

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