When Should Speech Sounds Be Mastered?

Just as there are physical milestones that your child will reach at a certain age, there are also speech milestones. The motor control required to get the lips, tongue, and voice to produce each sound is a developmental process. The control over the muscles to master speech sounds occurs around a particular age for most children. One 3 year old may not have mastered the ‘r’ in rabbit or the ‘st’ blend in star, while another 3 year old may have mastered these sounds. In both instances, this is considered typical development. However, a 3-year old who continues to mispronounce sounds typically mastered by his age may have an underlying speech disorder.

While all children develop skills at different rates, 90 percent of children have mastered these sounds by age:

2 years old: /p/ /b/ /m/ /w/ /h/ /n/
3 years old: /t/ /d/ /k/ /g/
4- 5 years old: /f/ /v/ /y/
5 to 7 years old: /s/ /z/ /j/ /l/ /r/ /sh/ /ch/ /th/ blends ( ie. pr, dr, br, st, str)

If you have concerns regarding your child’s speech and language development, your child should have a speech and language evaluation by a Speech-Language Pathologist. Please contact us for more information.

When Should Speech Sounds Be Mastered?
Published: September 2006 © Carolina Pediatric Therapy

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