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You are in: Home > Articles > Speech Sound Difficulties

Speech Sound Difficulties

Speech Sound Difficulties

The following information is supplied by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists

The child with a speech sound difficulty may:

mix up the sounds in words
use incorrect sounds
be unable to imitate particular sounds, or groups of sounds
leave sounds out of words

How to help


• encourage your child to speak freely in the way that is easiest for them
• make time to listen to them
• encourage your child to experiment with sounds, both in speaking and playing
• play lots of listening games - encourage your child to listen to speech and non-speech sounds
• encourage enjoyment of songs and nursery rhymes
• speak as clearly and correctly as you can - encourage your child to watch your face, and you watch theirs
• ask your local registered speech and language therapist for advice


• panic! Learning to use sounds correctly can take a long time
• be critical of your child’s attempts at speech
• reject your child’s speech
• insist on correct imitation of sounds when talking
• pretend to understand your child when you do not
• try and bribe your child to speak better, or punish them incorrect speech
• have the TV or radio on all the time. Children need a silent background to listen to speech occasionally

Speech sounds develop gradually, over a period of time, and children begin to use them at different times. For example, one child may say 'cat' when another child of the same age is still saying 'tat'.

Support Organisations:

Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
British Dyslexia Association
Dyspraxia Trust

Other articles supplied by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists
Delayed Language
Disorders of Fluency in Children (Stammering)
Voice Problems in Children
What is the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists?

More information on speech and language difficulties


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