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As children learn to talk, they develop the correct production of the speech sounds.


By approximately 3 years of age, a child develops the following sounds: p, b, m, n, t, d, y, h, w.

By approximately 4 years of age, a child develops the following sounds: f, v, k, g, ng. 


By approximately 5 years of age, a child develops the following sounds: ch, j, l, s, z, sh 

By approximately 6 years of age, a child develops the following sounds: r, th.

Some children develop certain sounds earlier than expected. However, when a child does not pronounce speech sounds correctly by the expected age, he/she may have speech sound disorders (articulation disorder or phonological disorder).

How do we understand what a child is saying?

Parents/caregivers and strangers understand the child differently, since parents/caregivers are familiar with speech patterns/ways the child talks. Therefore, there are different norms for speech intelligibility.

Parents/caregivers/familiar listeners:

By 2 years of age, familiar listeners understand their children approximately 50-75% of the time; 

by the age of 3, 100%.

Strangers/unfamiliar listeners:

by age 2 - approximately 50% intelligible

by age 3 - approximately 75% intelligible

by age 4 - approximately 100% intelligible

Childhood apraxia of speech is a speech sound disorder, which is characterized by the inability of the brain to send the correct message to the mouth muscles, resulting in the child not being able to move his/her lips and tongue to say words/sentences the right way.

Adults may also present with speech sound disorders, caused by a stroke or traumatic brain injury, such as apraxia of speech and dysarthria. 


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