Speech Development Overview

Speech Development Overview

Typical Speech Development

No matter how young or old your child is, you should be able to understand a certain amount of what they say all the time.  We call this speech intelligibility.

AGE Intelligible to a stranger
18 months 25%
2 yrs 50 – 70%
3 yrs 80%
4+ yrs 90 – 100%

Girls typically develop speech sooner than boys do.

Since the 1930s Speech-Language Pathologists have researched what ages children should be able to say certain sounds.

Each study had slightly different results so Pena-Brooks & Hegde (2000) compared the results and made the following generalizations about speech development in children:

Speech Development Chart

Children should be able to say the following sounds, by Age:

  • 3 yrs: h, w, m, n, b, p, f

  • 4 yrs: d, t, k, g, y, ng

  • 6 yrs: l, v, d, h, ch, j     At this age a child may still have errors on the r, s , z and th sounds, developing.

  • 8-9 yrs: A child should be able to say ALL sounds correctly including:  r, s, z, th (thin), th (that) 

Speech and language development growth charts can help you track your child’s progress and make sure they are meeting every milestone.

It is true that children who make articulation errors will sometimes “grow out of it”; however, the more errors they have, the less likely they will be to grow out of them.

Additionally, if a child’s brother, sister, or parent had speech errors when they were younger, the child will be at greater risk to have errors in their speech.

If your child is within 2-3 months of an age requirement and is not saying a sound OR not saying it correctly, you should consider taking them to get evaluated by a speech pathologist.

There are typical patterns of speech errors that children often use during development.

If children continue to these patterns of speech past the appropriate age, this is called a phonological process disorder.

Sound Hearing Audiology and Speech – Dr. Robin Zeller, Ph.D.
50 Hazelwood Drive, Jericho NY 11753
Audiologist, Speech Language Pathologist, Speech Therapy, Hearing Aids, Hearing Loss Treatments for Adults and Children