the Parents of Young Children
Parents are the primary
models for their child’s speech and language development.
Children learn primarily in their home environment. Talking
doesn’t just happen; it must be taught!
Keep in mind children need time to develop speech sounds. They master
sounds at a particular age. Sometimes parents expect too much too soon
from their children. They may want their children to start talking like
adults when they are two or three years of age. Parents must understand
that some sounds in our language are very difficult and may not be mastered
until children are in the second grade. There is a progression in sound development from simple to more difficult sounds. Usually the p, b, m, w, and h appear in speech at about three and a half years; the t, d, k, g, ng, and y as in “yellow”
appear at about four and a half; the f and v at about five and a half; and
the l, sh, zh, as in “vision”, and th as
in “that” at six and a half. The s,
z, r, wh, and th as in “thin”,
along with consonant blends such as st, sk, sm, fl, fr, br,
bl, etc., appear any time from six to seven and a half.
These ages serve only as guides. Individual differences
must be kept in mind. Some children acquire speech sounds much earlier
Sometimes there are children who won’t talk. If this is the case with your
child, take him to the pediatrician or family
physician for a complete physical examination,
including a hearing screening. There may also be a university speech
clinic or private speech clinics in your area where you can go for assistance.
Your local school district can also refer you to centers through Early Intervention and CPSE
Programs for preschool children in need of speech evaluations
and intervention. These centers are equipped to give
your child special tests to determine the cause of
his/her difficulties. If there is no organic problem and your child
is capable of talking, the following suggestions may help your child