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to be worried that my 3 year old DD can't say 'f'?

(20 Posts)
balroymum Thu 13-Mar-14 22:41:56

She is a great little talker and recently scored really highly in some speech and language assessment thingmybob at nursery (no stealth boast intended) The only problem us with the 'f' sound which she pronouncing 's' or sometimes 'sh.'

She has been referred to a speech specialist which sensible, rational balroy is pleased about but irrational, surely my DD is perfect balroy is feeling very anxious about.

Not sure I'm making sense here but feel quite upset about it - I known I'm probably being silly! Has anyone experienced something similar?

LCHammer Thu 13-Mar-14 22:45:28

Is her hearing good? I wouldn't worry at 3.

Permanentlyexhausted Thu 13-Mar-14 22:48:46

Try not to be anxious. The speech therapist will be able to see if there is a physical reason but I would think it would be more likely that she just hasn't developed that sound yet and it will come in time. My DS couldn't make the 'f' sound until he was 4. He used 'w' instead.

If I remember rightly he was given a load of flash cards with f words on and had to practise his "rabbit teeth" when he said them (i.e. putting his two top front teeth over his bottom lip).

balroymum Thu 13-Mar-14 22:48:56

Thanks Hammer - I think so. Hearjng was alwats okay at check ups. She does say 'what' quite lot and day dreams when we're talking to her sometime s but then she is three - don't they all?!

NotAQueef Thu 13-Mar-14 22:49:36

Try not to feel anxious. If her speech is within the realms of normal they'll discharge her. If not - then excellent she has access to the therapy she needs without too much fuss.
Fwiw my ds is 3.4 and can say his Fs eg fish, fly, finn but can't (or at least doesn't) say his name properly. It's Finnegan (sometimes just Finn) but his says something approximating "diggegan" and also thinking about it, fingers sort of sounds like tsingers
I'm not concerned and the nursery haven't raised anything with me. At 3 they don't usually have all their sounds

balroymum Thu 13-Mar-14 22:51:33

Thanks Perm. Will try not to worry. Will try the rabbit teeth thing too!

Purpleprickles Thu 13-Mar-14 22:52:32

I wouldn't worry if that is her only confused speech sound. F is quite a hard sound to make, my ds struggled particularly when it was fr which he pronounced as shr so friends were shriends. If she is a confident talker then the correct pronunciation of f should come as her language continues to develop. The speech therapist has probably told you about repeating words back to her with the correct pronunciation, so if she said 'yes my shriends' you would say 'yes your friends'.

MmeGuillotine Thu 13-Mar-14 22:54:17

My 5yo couldn't pronounce 'F' until just a couple of months ago - he used 'H' instead so his brother's name came out as 'Helix' rather than 'Felix' etc. I was in a right old panic about it but his pre-school and then reception class teachers didn't seem worried and said that it's a pretty common issue.

Actually, the more worrying thing is that he decided to alert us to the fact that he could now pronounce 'F' by loudly copying some sweary teenage boys sitting next to us in the park. Oops. blush

You're not being silly at all, OP. I'm sure it'll be fine. smile

BlackeyedSusan Thu 13-Mar-14 22:57:35

it can take up to the age of 7 to develop all the speech sounds. had a leaflet about it from speech therapy at one point but lost it.

DancesinPuddles Thu 13-Mar-14 23:02:06

I work in schools with children who have speech and language difficulties - using s instead of f is very common and certainly nothing to worry about in a three year old.
I wouldn't do anything anything, but have a look at if you would like some ideas to support speech.

IneedAwittierNickname Thu 13-Mar-14 23:03:49

My friends ds couldn't pronounce his fs until 4 or 5.
They came out as 'sl' so flags were slags, great fun to be on a beach with grin

Pipbin Thu 13-Mar-14 23:11:12

As said above, there are some sounds that children can't usually say until they are about 7. Don't worry at all.
Don't correct them, but repeat words they say in a sentence with clear and correct pronunciation.

EatShitDerek Thu 13-Mar-14 23:16:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CrohnicallyChanging Fri 14-Mar-14 07:18:49

As blackeyedsusan said, some speech sounds aren't developed till 6 or 7. Just keep modelling the correct sound and she'll get there.

You can try to make sure she can hear the difference in /f/ and /s/ sounds by using words that sound the same except for the target sounds, eg 'sun' and 'fun'. So long as she can hear the difference she'll pick it up herself.

balroymum Fri 14-Mar-14 07:37:54

Thank you everyone! Loads of great ideas here and lots of reassurance too - feel much better. The amusing mispronounciations have made me smile too! Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

miniandfloss Fri 14-Mar-14 07:53:11

I'm a speech and language therapist and this sound substitution would not worry me at all at this age. There is still time for natural development. As a guide our service treats this sound error from 4 1/2 years old if its still there.

Modelling the sound as mentioned sbove is a good way to help increase awareness.

cashmiriana Fri 14-Mar-14 09:10:54

This was my DD1's last speech sound to come, even after z zh v and th which are often later.

She knew she couldn't say it, bless her and when we practised exercises with her, used to get quite cross.

"I know you're trying to make me say Sireman Swed but I just can't say Sireman Swed!" (Letterland was her obsession at 3)

One morning we were playing I-spy.

"I spy with my little eye something beginning with s"

I thought I was being very clever when I replied, "Cereal?"

"Nearly mummy! Swosties!" (Yes I was a Bad Mother.)

Her hearing was fine and her language too, so we just sat it out until she got there. She's now doing 3 languages at GCSE and her pronunciation is good.

WhereBeThatBlackbirdTo Fri 14-Mar-14 09:14:14

Just to add that my eldest son was the same, couldn't pronounce 'f' and I was vaguely concerned.

As soon as he started school, within just a few weeks, he could pronounce all his sounds perfectly.

PurpleSproutingBroccoli Fri 14-Mar-14 09:15:14

At 3 my dd2 was the same - pronounced F as S - although we didn't have it investigated/referred. She'd grown out of it by 4 or 5 (hard to remember as she's 12 now!). Her favourite TV programme was the "Cymbals" smile

SpanishLady Fri 14-Mar-14 09:17:16

Another here with a 3 yr old who can't pronounce f pronouncing it s instead - not often a problem except for situations like last summer when at a summer proms and the union jacks came out for land of hope and glory...... Cue cries of " I want a slag!!!"

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