Tuesday, 24 May 2011

He's talking...but what's he saying?

Your toddler may learn to talk at a typical time, but can you understand everything they say?  I recall my daughter recently saying "Go fish Jack" over and over again, while we were driving to her dayhome one morning, only to discover that she was telling me she saw a "Garbage truck!" 

By age 2, it would be normal for you to understand only about 1/2 the things your child says and by age 3 you might only understand 75% of what they say.  In fact, it would be normal for a child not to say all speech sounds correctly until kindergarten! 
Here are some common errors for toddlers and preschoolers to make:
  • Saying only one sound in a cluster of 2 or 3 sounds (example: 'spoon' becomes 'poon')
  • Saying W for R and L (example: 'rabbit' becomes 'wabbit', 'love' becomes 'wove')
  • Saying S with their tongue between their teeth (lisping)
  • Saying F for TH (example: 'fumb' for 'thumb')
These errors would all be very normal for a child younger than age 4 to say.  After age 4, there is a much greater expectation for a child to talk clearly and therapy to work on speech sounds is common at this time. 

Of course, parents tend to understand their children better than anyone else, because they're used to their pronunciation.  But there are still those frustrating moments when you just don't know what that child is saying!  At these times, try to help your child find other ways to tell you what they want.  They can 'show' you, or say it in another way to help you understand.


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