Speech Therapy for Kids



Speech Development

Children start practicing their speech sounds by babbling when they are very young and this process will continue for the next few years of their lives! It is quite normal for children's speech  intelligibility to be limited when they are very young but as they grow older their intelligibility increases even if sometimes their sounds are not all correct. In fact, it is expected that children make some speech errors at different stages of their development. These errors  are called 'age appropriate' and should resolve as they get to practice more of their language and speech sounds.

The following table  gives a general idea of what sounds and errors to expect at different ages. If your child's speech is not following the pattern you see in this table, please contact your doctor and/ or a Speech and Language Therapist. 


Sounds to expect

Acceptable error patterns


m, n, h, b, p, w

Gliding: '[w]ing' for '[r]ing'
Deaffrication: '[d]oe' for '[j]oe'
Cluster reduction: '[n]ake' for '[sn]ake'
Fronting:'do[d]' for 'do[g]'
Weak Syllable delection:'nana' for '[ba]nana'
Stopping: '[p]ish' for '[f]ish'


tw, kw

Same as the above


d, t, k, g, f, sh, s, j, pl, bl, kl, sp, gl, pr, br, tr, dr, kr

Gliding: ''[w]ing' for '[r]ing'
Cluster reduction: '[n]ake' for '[sn]ake'
Fronting:'do[d]' for 'do[g]'
Stopping: '[p]ish' for '[f]ish'


sh, sk, sm, dj, tsh, gr, fr

Gliding: '[w]ing' for '[r]ing'


r, v, z, l, str

Gliding: '[w]ing' for '[r]ing'


th, dh, l, skw, str, spl

There should be no more error patterns at this point

Speech intelligibility

  • By 18 months: 25% intelligible
  • By 24 months: 50% to 75% intelligible
  • By 36 months: 75% to 100% intelligible

* some of these sounds might take a couple more years to develop (up until a child is 7.5 yrs). However, a speech assessment is recommended at the ages discussed in the table to rule out any other difficulties and to determine if intervention is beneficial.

You can help your children by developing their awareness of sounds through listening games. Here are some ideas for games and strategies you can use at home:

  • Reduce distractions where possible: Keep environmental noises down
  • Draw the child’s attention to noises in the environment and comment on what they are, e.g. water running, aeroplane overhead, fire engine.
  • Encourage the recognition and use of animal noises.
  • Encourage the recognition of rhyme and rhythm by saying nursery rhymes. Give the child the opportunity to finish the lines of a familiar rhyme. Action rhymes are particularly good where you have to do something to the words, e.g. incey wincey spider and twinkle twinkle.
  • Further encourage rhythmic skills by clapping out words and phrases according to the syllables, e.g. I want bu-bbles.
  • Give certain toys a particular sound, e.g. a ball says ‘b-b-b’ as you bounce it and a train goes ‘ch-ch-ch.’
  • Encourage the child to look at you so you know they are listening and they can see the shape of your mouth when you say the sound.
  • If the child pronounces a word wrong, praise what they have said and then remodel it, e.g. “Yes, you are right it is a dog.”
  • Emphasis the target sound of the word you are modeling, e.g. ssssand.
  • Take every opportunity during the day to use words with the target sound, e.g. “here are your socks; teddy is sitting on the seat.”



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