Speech Sound Disorder

Speech involves the production of sounds that make up a language. You can think of speech as the way of expressing language. It requires precisely coordinated muscle actions of the lips, tongue, jaw, and vocal tract.

Speech sound disorders are associated with difficulties in articulation, phonology, and prosody. It impacts the child’s ability to speak intelligibly as the child can’t make speech sounds using clear pronunciation. 

Speech sound disorder may also be referred to as delayed speech, speech impediment, or speech impairment. Speech sound disorders can negatively impact social relationships, academic performance, personal learning, business interactions, and occupational achievement.

Speech sound disorders should not be confused with language disorders. Children with speech sound disorders don’t have difficulty understanding language; the main issues are poor intelligibility and verbal expression due to incorrect production of speech sounds.  

Signs and Symptoms

• Errors or inaccurate productions of individual sounds

• Errors or inaccurate productions of syllables or sound combinations

• Systematic sound changes or sound simplifications

• Deletions, omission or substitution of individual sounds or sound combinations

Speech Development Milestones

1 to 3 months

The baby starts making cooing sounds. 

3 to 6 months

The child laughs, makes gurgling sounds, babbles, and produces speech-like sounds beginning with /b, m/, and /p/. 

6 to 12 months

The child babbles long or short groups of sounds, e.g., /ba-ba-ba/, says one or two words, e.g., ‘mama’, ‘dada’, ‘hi’.

1 to 2 years

The child starts to put two words together like “where ball?” or “more candy” and learns new words.
2 to 3 years 

The child makes /b, f, d, m, t, n, k, w, h/, and /g/ sounds and puts together two to three-word phrases.
3 to 4 years

The child uses /y/ and /v/ sounds but may still make mistakes with /th, ch, s, ng, sh, j, r, z, l/ sounds.
4 to 5 years

The child communicates easily with adults and other children and says most sounds correctly with only a few exceptions.