Children's Speech: When Should a Parent be Concerned?


JOEY is a bright and talkative 3 1/2 year old.  He speaks rapidly and tends to substitute sounds or leave sound out entirely (especially final sounds).  This makes it difficult for others to understand him.  Joey does not have many of the sounds his peers have in their repetoire.  Joey did not qualify for services through his county because of his high intelligence and comprehension skills. His mother is not sure if she should still be concerned.

BENJAMIN is 2 years old and he is not using many words.  He has less 50 words in fact, and he is not yet combining words. He uses the words "this" and "that" when requesting and exhibits considerable frustration during communicative attempts.

SARA is a timid 5 year old.  She has difficulty producing back sounds K and G.  In addition she leaves out the /s/ in s blends (e.g. star=tar).  Teachers and peers often ask her to repeat herself which results in significant frustration.  Sara is not able to make back sound when her mother demonstrates how to make the sound. She sometimes has difficulty moving her lips outward for sounds like /sh/ and /ch/.    

MADDY is a 6 1/2 year old with sound substitutions.  She often confuses /s/ and /f/ and she says "wabbit" for rabbit.  Because of her difficulty producing these sounds, she is now struggling in school with spelling and reading.  She shows difficulty remembering what sound each letter makes.  

JORDAN is 7 year old who had speech as a younger child.  His speech can be described as slushy and he sometimes loses saliva when he is speaking and eating. Jordan's tongue peeks between his teeth when producing t, d, n, and s.  He sounds as if he has a lisp.  He has been denied services from his school district.

MATTHEW has difficulty answering various types of questions (what, who, where, when).  He is 4 years old.  His sentence length is short compared with his peers.  He does not talk about what he did at school on a given day or share information with others regarding vacations, outings to carnivals, birthday parties etc. 

So WHAT qualifies a speech or language PROBLEM?

I have found that children require remediation when:

1. The child is frustrated that he is not being understood.  In addition parents may have to translate words for eachother or for other listeners.

2. The child is difficult to understand even within a known context.

3. The child has difficulty imitating specific sounds and sounds in words.

4. The error patterns are persisting beyond the age when most children have stopped using these errors.

5. There is an oral motor component or motor coordination issue overlapping.

6. The child is not understanding what is being said to him/her.

7. The child does not stay "on topic" or sustain conversations with others easily.

8. The child is feeling self conscious about his/her speech.

If this sounds like YOUR child, you may want to seek out a screening or evaluation.

Please contact us at Huntington Speech & Feeding to find out more about our speech and language services. 





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