Sounds your child should be able to say

While we often think that children’s speech skills begin when they start to ‘talk’, the reality is that kids process everything they see and hear from the moment they are born. There are, of course, certain communication milestones that most children achieve at certain ages and if you have found it a little daunting to see other children start to speak earlier than yours, this guide may help you to work out whether you have cause to worry or not.

Sounds your child should be able to say

Will your child ‘grow out’ of their speech sound problems?

From the ages of 0 to 7, most children understand far more than they can say, and it can be tempting to hope that a child who is not keeping up with their peers will ‘grow into’ the communication skills they need to succeed in the classroom and playground.

You might have well-meaning relatives offering assurance such as ‘Don’t worry, Roger didn’t talk until he was four and look at him now!’ or ‘Relax! Madeline was still saying ‘lellow’ instead of ‘yellow’ until she was eight, and she’s fine’.

While you might hope that your child’s development will follow the pattern of another family member, such as a sibling, cousin, or parent, no child is the same, even within families.

Having an understanding of kids’ typical communication skills development is very important for parents and educators of young children. Knowing how and when to seek informed advice is crucial too.

Understanding the risks

Australian studies¹ have shown that children who can’t express their wants and needs can face huge challenges at home, as well as in the classroom and playground. Sometimes, when the right advice is put into action, giving a child that little bit of extra support they need is relatively quick and easy. Of course, when concerns are not actioned quickly, children run the risk of falling behind socially, behaviourally, and academically.

What sounds should chidlren be able to say

Children’s speech and language milestones

Regardless of when your child uttered their first word, there are general milestones that experts in children’s communication agree upon. These milestones outline the developmental progress that typically developing children should meet by certain ages and stages of their life.

Sometimes children do not always meet these milestones or are delayed in meeting them and this is where the advice of a university-educated speech pathologist can offer an invaluable opportunity that can help you to be able to make informed choices for the child you care about.

When in doubt, check it out

Should you have concerns about your child’s speech and language skills, please seek professional advice. It is never too early to ask important questions, and the help you give to your child now could make a world of difference in their future.

The experienced paediatric speech pathology team at Kids First Children’s Services has helped thousands of children to overcome speech, language and literacy problems so that they can be more confident and successful at preschool and school.

Want to have chat about your child’s needs? Please feel welcome to contact us on (02) 9938 5419 if we can help a child you care about.

Learn more about speech therapy at Kids First here

¹ Daniel, G. R., & McLeod, S. (2017). Children with Speech Sound Disorders at School: Challenges for Children, Parents and Teachers. Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 42(2).

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