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Toddler Articulation Norms

Articulation.  It's the biggest topic of speech therapy that I'm asked about.  Here are some of the questions I'm asked from parents:  "When should my 3 year old say her r's?", "Should I be concerned if my son says a t for a d sound?"  If you're a concerned parent then this is the information you're looking for! 

Below, is a pdf file of a chart that lists all the sounds we have in the English language.  The left side of the bar indicates when a child starts to say the sound (on average),and the right side of the bar shows when most children can say the sound, or as speech-language pathologists say, mastered the sound. 
As you will see, most children begin saying the /r/ sound at about age 3 and should have it mastered around age 7 1/2.  So, if your toddler isn't saying his or her /r/ sound at age 3, don't worry too much about it.  This is a later developing sound.  Do keep in mind that this is just the average age in which children learn to produce these sounds.  Also, most children may not say these sounds in this particular order.  Some children may say some sounds before others. 

It is important to remember that when a child learns to talk, he or she may not say all of his or her sounds correctly.  This is very normal, and it is expected by most speech-language pathologists.  However, if a child has many incorrect speech productions and is not easily understood at age three or after, then it's recommended that he or she be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist.

So, what can  you do as a parent to help your child's articulation?  First, if you have any concerns at all, please seek the help of a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist. 
Since articulation therapy is so structured, I think it’s best targeted in a therapeutic environment.  You can also find some simple tips and  more information by reading 3 Tips to Target Your Toddler's Articulation.

To learn easy and practical speech and language tips to help your toddler talk and communicate faster, be sure to check out my book on Amazon Kindle, 
Talking With Toddlers - 52 Tips to Boost Speech and Language Skills.    

1 comment

  • Thank you for sharing about this. I am alayws looking for ideas. Our youngest son has sever speech issues due to cleft lip/palate. When we adopted him, he had hearing issues as well which have now been resolved. He is 4 1/2 and finally speaking! We have a LONG way to go, but thankful for every step he makes.


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