This may sound odd coming from a speech-language therapist, but articulation errors are actually normal depending on the age of the child and the misarticulated sounds. While children are learning to produce the sounds of a language, they will simplify the words to make them easier to produce and coordinate. These simplifications are called phonological processes. As a child grows and matures, phonological processes are eliminated naturally. For some children, phonological processes persist, warranting speech-language pathology.
Common phonological processes that are expected to be eliminated from a child’s speech by the age of three and four years of age:
- Unstressed syllable deletion: deleting a weak syllable (e.g., banana à nana)
- Final consonant deletion: deleting the consonant at the end of the word (e.g., hat à ha)
- Diminutization: adding a “i” to the end of nouns (e.g., dog à doggy)
- Consonant assimilation: changing a sound so that it takes on a characteristic of another sound in the word (e.g., cat à tat)
- Reduplication: repeating phonemes or syllables (e.g., water à wawa)
Processes Eliminated by Four Years:
- Fronting of initial velar sounds: substituting a front sound for a back sound (e.g., can à tan)
- Deaffication: replacing an affricate sound (“ch” and “j”) with a continuant (“f, v, s, z, sh, zh”) or stop (“p, b, t, d, k, g”) (e.g., chip à sip)
- Stopping: substituting a stop consonant (“p, b, t, d, k, g”) for any other stop (e.g., sun à dun).
By the age of seven, it is expected that all phonological processes are eliminated from a child’s speech.
NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!