Though communication begins with babbling, the actual art of articulation involves incredible coordination of many body parts including your tongue, lips, jaws and vocal chords. Try making the sound of the letter B with your tongue in the front of your mouth instead of the back. With a slip of the tongue, you have totally imparted the wrong message.
And while certain speech mispronunciations can be viewed as part of a child’s charm when they are younger, there are specific speech milestones. Each sound is expected to be produced clearly by a certain age. Interestingly it is different for boys and girls.
Does your child have a speech disorder?
Here are some revealing questions to ask yourself:
- Is he/she easily understood by others?
- Do people perceive them as being younger because of speech difficulties?
- Is he/she experiencing frustration when trying to communicate?
There is a common misperception that speech disorders can be outgrown. And sometimes they can. But generally, articulation disorders, like saying “lellow” instead of “yellow” requires the intervention of a licensed speech and language therapist who specializes in working with children specifically on articulation. And while saying “nana” instead of “banana” may be endearing at age three, by age four that pattern of speech should be corrected.
Early detection and treatment can positively impact your child, both academically and socially. A simple screening may give you the answer you need.