A Little About Me and This Blog

I have been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 1987. I am a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association. I have worked in the states of New York, Hawaii and Florida. I am currently in New York State. I have worked in settings that include public schools, special education preschools, hospitals, adult day treatment programs, home health rehabilitation, early intervention and preschool homebased therapy. I have provided evaluation and therapy to people ranging in age from 6 months to 100 years. I have worked with a wide range of conditions and treatments including fluency, aphasia, apraxia, voice disorders, dysphagia, cleft palate, hearing impairment, articulation delay, language delay, augmentative/alternative communication, autism, and many others through the years.
The purpose of this Blog is to share information and answer questions that you may have. I will strive to provide the correct information to the best of my professional knowledge. I may not share the same professional opinion as other licensed speech pathologists and I encourage second opinions if you want to be as informed as possible.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Speech Sound Milestones

As a speech pathologist, I often have people asking me questions about their toddlers' and preschoolers' speech sound development. "Articulation" is the formal term for the ability to physically make consonant and vowel sounds that can be used alone and in combination with other sounds for the purpose of speech. All babies babble. This is the early sound play where we hope to hear a true word. It usually sounds like "ah-buh," "muh-muh-muh," and "ah-da." They will babble sounds that are in our language and some sounds that are not speech sounds. If a child doesn't babble, or if they babble and then stop babbling, their hearing should be assessed. For a typical child, speech sounds develop in a similar developmental manner. Although all children vary somewhat, we can hope to have children master the production of certain sounds by certain ages. Some children learn later sounds at a younger age and may sound like they have perfect speech by age 3. Others have sounds that aren't completely mature yet by age 5. Both of these examples are within the range of what is normal. Below are general guidelines for speech sound development. Your child may be a bit ahead or behind these guidelines and that's ok, as long as they continue to go through the stages in a near age approppriate time span. If you have any questions or worries, start with your pediatrician or local public health department and ask for a speech and language evaluation. Early intervention programs will be available to you if your child is delayed.

1-6 months
Vowel sounds are generally heard first. Soon there will be consonants, typically ones like "k" and "g" produced in the back of the mouth. Towards 6 months there may be some combinations of consonants and vowels.

6 months
Makes a lot of different sounds such as laughing, gurgles and coos. Babble when alone and for attention.

8 months
May often use syllables ba, da, ka. They will try to imitate sounds and make four or even more different consonants.

10 months
They may use a syllable or use several in repetition such as "ba-ba-ba-ba." They may start saying "dada" or "mama." They will start using jargon which is babbling with intonation making it sound like a "sentence." They will also shout to gain attention.

12 months
By one year of age they will say two words in addition to "mama" and "dada" on a regular basis. They will try to imitate sounds and familiar words. Will start making sounds of familiar animals and environmental noises like motors. Hears well and can tell the difference between many sounds.

18 months
They will use 10-20 words and start combining 2 words like "all gone," "Mommy up."
Imitates sounds and words more easily and accurately.

24 months
Vocabulary growing fast..around 300 or more words. Sentences of 2-3 words used regularly.
Using many different consonants correctly but may still substitute one sound for another such as
"d" for "g" or "t" for "k." They may be able to make consonant sounds but use them incorrectly at times.

3 years
All vowel sounds can be produced correctly. 90% of 3 year olds can correctly use consonants: m, n, p, h, w.

4 years
90% of 4 year olds can correctly use the consonants: k,t,g,d,b,v,f

5 years
90% of 5 year olds can correctly use: y, ing

6 years
90% of 6 year olds can correctly produce: l, j, sh, wh, ch, zh (treasure)

7 years
90% of 7 year olds correctly use: r, s, z

8 years
90% of 8 year olds can correctly use: th, blends (pr, sl, sp,tr...)


  1. Hi,

    My son is 4yrs old now.

    Quick history: At the age of 11 months he uttered few words in our mother tongue and talked out the numbers 1,2,3 & 4. After 1 year he was mostly silent & index finger sucking (still he is doing it) and also had severe ear infections, fever, cold cough etc almost every month. Around when he was three, due to numerous ear infections, he had ear tubes on. Most of us think that he wasn't hearing or hearing well between 1.5 yrs to 3 yrs. So mostly he didn't talk during that time but we were more worried about his health issues and addressing them.

    About six months back (when 3 yrs and 2 months) we took him for Speech evaluation and was diagnosed for Severe Expressive-Receptive-articulation Speech delay. We attend two 30 mins session in a week. But due to health issues, he couldn't attend regularly for first two to three months. Last couple months seems to be alright when he started saying 3 words together (says I want water or book or pencil etc. He can write his first name ,numbers(1,2,6,7,4,5 still we are training him for remaining numbers). He can repeat words, say his bodyparts, follows most directions, identifies colours, says alphabets etc. We enrolled him in Kumon for discipline, repetition etc three months back. Now he is in preschool. if he is in a good mood he will do every activity but he is not interacting with kids in class. But in the playground he plays well. He is not much attentive in class per the teacher. He sings the nursery rhymes well and loves music of any kind. He gets upset very soon and sometimes very adamant. Handles Kindle tablets, iphones etc to browse through songs and play them. Knows to unlock phone with 4 digit security code. Fond of Biking, park plays, bounce house etc. After starting his speech therapy we parents are talking only in English at home.

    My expectation like any other mom is for my son to talk and be functional. Use more sentences to request his needs, understand the characteristics of any objects or animals or birds or any other entities (instead of just identifying them). Want him to express what he wants etc... How can I make him to socialize with other kids?

    What can I do ? Let me know how I can improve his functional talk/conversations. How can he socialize better which will inturn help his communication? Also what can I do to improve his focus/attention at school ? Should I go to Neuro specialist or Educational psychologist ? Pls advise and help me out.


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