‘Speech’ is the word that describes the sounds that are used in words as we talk. It’s the way we pronounce words. Learning to say the right sounds in words is not an easy task for children. A child needs a lot of different skills to be able to say sounds correctly.
How clear is your child’s speech?
Usually, young children can be understood by those people who are closest and know them best. So, you might understand them where a neighbour may not. At 18 months, parents can usually follow 1 in every 4 words a child says. By 2 years, parents can usually follow half of what’s said. By 3 years, parents can follow virtually all of what’s said, and by 4 years, even unfamiliar adults can understand.
Development of speech sounds
Speech sounds don’t all develop at once. The chart shows the average age when children are able to say each sound of English. Some children learn some sounds earlier than this and others learn later – just as some children learn to walk earlier or later than others. If a child is slower by more than six months for any sound, please refer for assessment by a Speech and Language Therapist.
Children learn to say some sounds before others – it’s a gradual process. The later sounds require fine co-ordination – a bit like hopping or skipping; you’d expect a 2 year old to be able to walk but not to hop or skip until they are older. A 2 year old is able to say sounds like ‘m’ and ‘b’ but not ‘r’ and ‘ch’.