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Acquisition of Speech Sounds by Age

Speech sound development varies greatly between boys and girls as well as between ages. Below are two charts that provide information about age of acquisition of speech sounds.  Speech Pathologists have researched the age of acquisition of consonant sounds in Standard American English for many decades. Each study found slightly different results regarding the age of mastery. I have provided the norms listed from the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation, 2nd Edition (GFTA-2). The GFTA-2 has been a widely-used articulation assessment for over 30 years. The age of mastery was determined by 85% of the sample population having the target sound mastered in the initial, medial, and final position of words. You can view a chart below with each sound and the typical age of mastery.

These charts should be used as a reference, not as a definitive means of determining if speech services are warranted. If your child is difficult to understand or is experiencing challenges with pronunciation of sounds, please contact a licensed speech language pathologist for a full evaluation.

Male

By Age Children should be able to say
2 ½ m n h w
3 p b g
3 ½ k t
4 f
4 ½ -ing y (yellow) d
5 j (jumping)
5 ½ s “ch” (chair) “sh” (shovel)
6 r l
7 v z “th” (this)
8 “th” (thumb)

Female

By Age Children should be able to say
2 m h
2 ½ n p
3 f w b T
3 ½ k g
4 d
4 ½ -ing y (yellow) r j (jumping) “sh” (shovel)
5 l s “ch” (chair)
5 ½ z
6 “th” (this) v
8+ “th” (thumb)

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References:

 Goldman, R., Fristoe, M., & Williams, K. (2000). Goldman fristoe test of articulation supplemental developmental norms. (2 ed.). Circle Pines: American Guidance Service.

New Years Resolutions: A Chance for Kids to Make Goals and See Their Achievements

We frequently set goals for ourselves; parents set their sights on goals for their children and therapists identify skill areas to build upon girl setting goals for the children they work with. There is a reason why we make a new years resolution with each year that passes- it is motivating to set your sights on something new. Goal setting can be fun; encourage kids to join in!
Make goals less of an obligation and more of a motivation by encouraging children to speak for themselves. You will be surprised with what they come up with. As children are not usually asked to set goals themselves (and in fact it is quite an abstract question at that), below is a framework for discussing goal-setting with children.

How To Goal Set With Children:

  • Present goal setting as a form of “wish list” for children. These wishes can be as big as they would like them to be, such as what a child wants to be when they grow up, getting a pet that they have been desperately asking for or earning more of an allowance each week. This makes a goal tangible and relevant to every child.
  • Get more specific by organizing these wishes into certain areas of life. Examples are listed below:
    • Personal- practice piano 30 minutes per day.
    • Social- limit phone calls to 30 minutes on school nights.
    • Family- plan a family activity at least every two weeks.
    • Academic- clean out my backpack before bed every night.
    • Physical – learn to pass the ball to teammates during soccer practice.
  • Set short-term goals that are to be attained before reaching larger, more long-term goals. Short-term goals should be a part of an action plan (a specific description of what a child must do to get to the ultimate goal).
    • For example, before a pet joins the family, a child must show responsibility by independently making their bed and sorting their laundry.
    • Make these goals measurable so that a child knows “when” and “how” this goal is achieved.
    • Mark progress! If a child remembered to do laundry 3 days out of the 5 days, this is a HUGE improvement from before the child started doing laundry- celebrate it.
      • Think of how exciting that trip to the scale was when you’ve lost your first few pounds- it keeps you going. Help your child keep going by celebrating baby steps.
      • Charts, stickers, announcements via white-board or at the dinner table serve to encourage children and keep them on track.

Including a child in setting their own goals can lead to greater outcomes through increased motivation and personal investment in each goal. It empowers kids and changes the conversation from “you have to do” to “what do you want to do? How can you make it happen?” Keep in mind that goals can be individual or family-wide. Take advantage of this New Year to start healthy and fun habits at home by setting goals that require the whole family to work together.

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Best Time to Teach a Child a Second Language | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric speech therapist will explain useful strategies to use when teaching a second language to a child.

In this video you will learn:

  • When is the right time to teach your child a second language
  • Effective tactics to use when teaching your child a second language

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide
experience and innovation to maximize your child’s
potential. Now, your host, here’s Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host Robyn
Ackerman, and I’m standing here today with a Pediatric
Speech Pathologist, Katie Secrest. Katie, can you tell our
viewers when the best time to introduce a second language
is?

Katie: Sure. So, just like when you teach your child their native
language, you want to teach the child a second language as
early as you possibly can. The later in life, or the older
your child is, the more difficult it will be for them to
learn that second language. You’re also going to use
similar techniques when you’re teaching a second language,
just like you would their native language. You want to
model, repeat and expand, and use visuals when you can.

So, for instance, if I was teaching a child the word “ball”
in English, I would model and say, “Ball.” I would repeat
and expand, and say, “Red ball. My ball. Bounce ball,” and
then I would use a visual, just like I am here, using the
actual object.

Robyn: All right, well thank you so much, and thank you to our
viewers, and remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational
programming. To subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs,
or learn more, visit our website at learnmore.me. That’s
learnmore.me.

Speech and Language: What is the Difference?

At a time when families are seeking treatment for their children, they may hear terms like “speech” or “language” and wonder, what’s mother and daughter talkingthe difference?  Many children will struggle with both speech and language aspects of communication, and it is important that families understand the distinction.

Speech:

“Speech” can be thought of as verbal communication. It is the set of sounds that we make (using our voice and our articulators) that comprise syllables, words, and sentences. Speech alone carries no meaning; it is merely sound.

There are three main components of speech:

  • Articulation (how we make each sound)
  • Voicing (using our “vocal cords”)
  • Fluency (intonation and rhythm)

Speech sounds emerge at different ages, and most children have all sounds mastered by age 9. Common speech errors occur when a child omits sounds (ex. “ba” for “ball”)  or substitutes one sound for another (ex. “wabbit” for “rabbit”). If you have questions about typical speech milestones, please see this blog

Language:

“Language” encompasses how we use speech to formulate sentences in order to communicate.  Language also consists of three parts:

Children may have difficulty with one or more components of language, as indicated by children choosing the wrong word, having a difficult time understanding ideas and concepts, and struggling with appropriate grammar when speaking or writing. Many older children may have difficulty decoding social language such as irony, sarcasm, or hidden meanings, which can negatively affect their ability to make and maintain friendships.

Communication is comprised of speech and language. Children struggling in one or more areas of communication may have difficulty being understood by both familiar and unfamiliar communication partners, making it more difficult for their wants and needs to be met. These difficulties may also create problems in school, both academically and socially.

Intervention can help children with difficulties in these areas. Speech-language pathologists can conduct evaluations and create plans that help to reduce both short-term and long-term effects of speech and/or language disorders. At NSPT, we want to see your children blossom, so please contact us if you have any questions about your child’s speech and/or language development!




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How To Introduce 2 Words Into a Sentence Using Baby Sign Language | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s webisode, a pediatric speech language pathologist explains effective ways of introducing a second sign into a sentence when teaching your baby sign language.

If you haven’t already seen the previous Webisode, you can view it here 

In this video you will learn:

  • How to use sign language to teach variety of other signs and gestures
  • How to incorporate 2 signs in one sentence
  • What is the best resource out there for sign language

How To Teach The Word “More” In Baby Sign Language | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a pediatric speech and language pathologist walks us through teaching baby sign language with an emphasis on the word “more”.

To understand the benefits of baby sign language, click here.

In this video you will learn:

  • The best ways and setting to teach your infant sign language
  • Ways to teach the sign “more” to your infant

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman, and I’m standing here today with Kate Connolly, a Pediatric
Speech and Language Pathologist. Kate, can you tell our viewers how to
teach baby sign language, and maybe, even show us one of the signs?

Kate: Sure. The best piece of advice I can give you for teaching sign
language is to pick words and environments that are very motivating to your
child, so toys that they really enjoy, activities they love, food they
love. Those are all going to be very motivating for the child, and they
will acquire the language a little bit better, and the sign associated with
it.

One of the earliest signs to talk about is the word more. And it’s two duck-
like fingers and then double tap them very quickly, more. And the best time
to teach this is during mealtimes, because what is more motivating than
food for your child. My advice would be that when your child is indicating
that they would like more of an item, so they’re looking at the
refrigerator, or they are looking at you, they’re pointing at the peaches
in your hand. You can do the double tap, “More? You want more peaches?
Let’s have more.”‘ And then immediately provide your child with the
desired item.

As they start to see that, make sure they are focused on you. They are not
looking away, they are not looking at the refrigerator, they need to be
seeing the sign and associating it with the word, more. Enunciate. Change
your volume, “More? More?” That’s really going to help attract the
attention of the child. Then you can help them do the sign for themselves.
Take their hands into a more pattern and have them do it. And slowly,
slowly, as they get comfortable with the sign, gradually allow them a
little bit more time to do it independently, and hopefully you’ll be
signing with your child in no time.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much, and thank you to our viewers.
Remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Books to Encourage Speech in a 1 Year Old | Pediatric Therapy Tv

In today’s Webisode, a Pediatric Speech Pathologist introduces us to the best type of books to help encourage speech in a 1 year old.

For more on your baby’s speech read these blogs: “Speech Milestones from birth-1yr”  and “Encouraging Speech and Language Development in Infants and Toddlers” 

In this video you will learn:

  • What types of books are best for a one year old
  • How can the books help a baby’s speech and language
  • What content the books should contain

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now, your host, here’s
Robyn.

Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host, Robyn
Ackerman. I’m sitting here today with a Pediatric Speech and Language
Pathologist, Megan Grant. Megan, can you show us some books that help
encourage speech in a child who is a year old?

Megan: Sure. Being a parent, it can be completely overwhelming walking into
the children’s section of a library or a book store. These are two great
tips when searching for books for your little one. First and foremost, you
want to make sure the size is appropriate. They should be smaller in size
that is perfect for little hands to hold. And also make sure that they are
board books. Board books are essentially just thicker cardboard books with
heavier pages. Not only are they easier for the kids to turn, but that way
they won’t rip them. And kids this age like to chew on books from time to
time, so you definitely will not destroy the books. So the size is
definitely key.

The second thing to keep in mind is make sure that the books are
interactive. They should have lots of bright, colorful pictures and pages
for the kids to look at. They should be attractive to the kids, and
essentially, too, you want to look for books that have the touch and feel,
so different textures of books, and also lift-the-flap and peek-a-boo books
are perfect for kids this age, as that will keep their interest as well. So
introducing books early on is definitely key, and you’re going to help
instill a lifelong learning of reading for kids, and that’s a wonderful
thing.

Robyn: All right. Well, thank you so much, Megan, and thank you to our
viewers. And remember, keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind
to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to
our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at
learnmore.me. That’s learnmore.me.

Language Fun with Halloween

Halloween is a super fun holiday! There are so many great ways to use Halloween to build your child’s language skills. Here are a few ideas:

“Categories and Sorting” to Boost Language

After your child goes trick or treating, have them sort their candy into different categories. They could sort candy by type (chocolate vs. gummies), size, shape, color or taste.Boy in Costume Sorting Candy

“Describing” To Boost Language

Picking out the perfect Halloween costume is always fun! When talking about costumes, have your child describe what it is that they’d like to be this year. Have them talk about costume colors, accessories, emotions/feelings associated with the character, etc. Or when you’re at the store, play a guessing game. “Guess who I am thinking about…I wear a pointy hat, fly on a broomstick and can be a little scary!”

“Following Directions” To Boost Language

There are lots and lots of Halloween art projects and craft ideas. Take any project and turn it into a following directions activity. Depending on what level your child is at, you can have him/her follow 1 or 2 step directions. It could be as simple as a drawing activity. Start with a haunted house picture. Tell your child, “draw a pumpkin next to the door” or “Put a scary ghost in one of the top windows.”

Vocabulary

Halloween is a great time to work on different vocabulary words. You can work on synonyms or antonyms, definitions, grammar or even salient features. For example, take the word “spooky.”

You can ask the following questions:

  • What does spooky mean?
  • What is the opposite of spooky? What is another word for spooky?
  • Tell me something that is spooky – once they give you an object, have them tell you more about the object. For example, let’s say they say “witch.”   Then have him/her tell you what a witch has, where you find a witch, what does a witch do, etc (these are all salient features).

Reading Comprehension

There are many thematic books for Halloween. Find a book that is appropriate for your child’s reading level and work on reading comprehension skills. Ask wh- questions (i.e. who, what, where, why, why) while reading the book. You can ask text-based questions (questions that stem directly from what you read) or critical thinking questions (questions that will stimulate your child’s thought process). For example, if you’re reading about a scary character, you could ask “What makes you scared?” or “What do you do when you’re scared?”

For a list of great Halloween Books, click here.  You can read summaries and even take a look at the first few pages of the books.

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Is Biting Normal?

Parents often ask if it’s normal for their toddler to bite.  It can feel both concerning and upsetting for parents to find out that their child is biting others. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone.  Here are a few guidelines and tips to consider when navigating your toddler’s biting habit.

Consider Your Child’s Age

  1. Biting is more common for children under 3 years of age.  In determining whether or not your child’s biting habits are normal, consider their age and toddler biting another toddlerdevelopmental level.
  2. Under 1 year, mouthing objects is an important part of feeding and speech development.  This is how children develop oral-sensory awareness in their mouth, as they explore various objects.
  3. Between 1 and 1½ years, children may bite others when they are excited.  It’s important to convey to children that biting is not okay
  4. Between 1½ and 3 years, children might bite more out of frustration.  Frustration often arises when children cannot convey their intents, or feel powerless against limits.  It’s still important to convey that biting is not acceptable.
  5. After 3 years, biting is considered to be less typical, and is likely a behavioral response to frustration or fear.  Children might feel frustrated or fearful when they don’t have control over a situation, when they can’t effectively communicate, or when they don’t like the limits set by others.

Consider Possible Triggers:

Understanding why your child bites is a critical step in determining how to intervene.

Here are a few questions parents can ask themselves to identify causes behind their child’s biting habit:

  • Is there a particular environment when biting occurs more frequently?
  • Is there a time of day when biting occurs more frequently?
  • What is your child’s emotional state when they bite?
  • What tends to trigger biting?  For example, does your child bite when you tell them “no”?  Do they bite when they can’t communicate their thought/ideas?
  • Who does your child tend to bite the most?

What Can Parents Do?

  • Respond quickly, and let your child know that biting is not okay.  Use a firm voice, and tell them “No.  It is not okay to bite”.
  • Help your child understand that biting hurts other people.  Believe it or not, this may be a surprise to your child.
  • If your child is struggling to use words, help them by giving them words to express their feelings.  For example, if your child is upset because a peer took their truck, then model “You can say: ‘It’s my turn’ or ‘I want the truck'”.
  • Talk to your child ahead of time about appropriate social rules.  You might say “It’s not okay to bite people” or “You can use words, but you cannot bite.”
  • Talk to your child about things that they can bite.  You might say “We can’t bite people, but we can bite apples!  What else can we bite?”
  • Be proactive about situations that frequently result in biting.  Be ready to intervene and respond, or if necessary, limit situations that result in extreme frustration and biting.

Finally, don’t battle this alone!  Seek help from a licensed professional who can guide you through the process.  Your child’s therapist can help you uncover why your child is biting, and strategies to help your child find better ways to resolve their frustration.

Facebook, Twitter, Texting: Are They Bad For Language Development?

The impact of social media on children is quite the hot topic these days! There is a lot of talk about what impact social media has on a child’s language development and many arguments support both sides. Some people believe that social media better helps develop a child’s language Baby Using A Laptopfunctioning, while others report that it does more harm than good.

In my opinion, the use of social media, either via the internet or text messaging, will not cause a regression in social and communication skills. In fact, I think that there are ways in which social media can actually aid in the development of these skills. Can such modes of communication actually help foster language development? I do not know; however, it is my belief that such interaction cannot harm a child’s language development.

Communication Practice

Let’s start by answering the question, “What is communication?” or rather “What is the purpose of communication?” We use communication to exchange information or ideas with other people. Language, on the other hand, is the means by which we engage in communication. Language begins to develop early on in life through interactions with people and the environment. Children learn and practice their communication skills with their family and peers; however, they also learn and practice their skills when utilizing different forms of social media. Computers and cell phones are inherently engaging to children. Once a child becomes motivated to complete a task, the child is able to engage in communication with peers. If children send instant messages, they still practice the reciprocity necessary to having a conversation. This form of communication can help a reserved or shy child develop confidence while simultaneously developing the rules necessary for social interaction.

Limitations

On the flip side, communicating through social media does not allow children to recognize non-verbal cues that are often required to fully interpret a message. For example, sarcasm is often identified based on tone of voice. If one person can’t hear what the other person said or if he can’t see the other person’s facial expression, the message may be misinterpreted. Also, because texting and instant messaging do not require an immediate response, you may lose some of the reciprocity that is essential to having a conversation.

Use in Moderation

The use of social media in this day and age is inevitable. Although its use may be helpful to the development of communication and language, it’s crucial that children are NOT solely reliant on such means of communication. Therefore, it is important to monitor how much time your children use social media. They should not be spending all of their time doing something that may not help their language development. Children still need the opportunity to engage in personal interactions in order to develop socially.

Note from the Author: This blog is not based on research or statistics, but rather on my own observations, interpretation, and experience.