4 Year old speech / pronunciation(14 Posts)
My Mum has been commenting on how she feels my ds who is nearly 4 needs speech therapy, thought I would ask your advice.
I can understand everything he says if he talks slowly and I look at him however others struggle to understand what he says.
He also can't say bl or cl sounds as he says them as br or cr (if that makes sense) e.g. cloud becomes croud, black is brack.
He had 2 year of ear infections from being 3 months old and had grommets inserted age 2. His hearing was quite markedly affected initially although they tell me now his hearing is fine. Doctors do keep commenting on his large tonsils, although nothing has been suggested to be done about it.
Should I be concerned and do something now?
Advice would be much appreciated
Hey Tig, a couple of thoughts - how recently did your son have his hearing tested. It really sounds as if he's not hearing well. I'd have him tested again. Also, is he tongue tied? If his tongue is tethered underneath he'll find it difficult making the 'l' sounds.
I am a teacher and recently sought the advice of the speech therapist who comes into school for a little girl in my class who is 5 (nearly 6). She has the same problem but I was reassured by the ST that the sounds your son is having difficulty with, are very common at his age (they are some of the last sounds to develop) and not to be too concerned yet.
My son (4 and 2 months) also can't say the "l" sound. My DH was worried but we looked it up and as pp says it's very normal not to be able to say this until 5 at least and it seems a bit older too .
Your Healt vistor may be able to do a quick heck list type thing with you. Doing
this about our Ds ( when he was just 4) showed up that DH and i didn't understand his speech at least once a day. That was enough for Hvto refer DS for hearing test and SALT assesment. Asssesment showed he had a whole range of sounds he could not OR did not say. 4 months of focused and resourced work at home has got DS back on track with his speech Before he started school.
Its easierto get them refered through a HV before school age than it is to go thrugh school.
IMO its important that DS is starting school AFTER he has worked to get his speech understandable by anyone, not just those who have tuned into him. he is able to chat to his teacher and have a conversation, not just her nodding and smiling and misunderstanding him. Which used to frustrate him at preschool, to the point that he refused to talk to 2 members of staff .
I think it is called consonant blending and my SALT info says is normal for it not to be perfect until 6/7 yrs.
I imagine his hearing has delayed his speech. There is a really wide range of 'normal' speech at this age according to the SALT we saw a while ago.
My DD is nearly 4 and has slightly slurred speech unless she concentrates on speaking clearly. She has hypermobility and low muscle tone which also affects her mouth muscles.
Thanks for all the advice. I spoke to Ds nursery today and they feel that he is on the lower end of what is "normal". They suggest that if I would like a referral to SALT "won't hurt!" Guess that means that it might be worth while!
1percentworker. This sounds quite like my little one as I do feel sometimes one side of his mouth especially has low muscle tone. Did your SAlT give you anything to do at home or just tell you that it can be normal?
Thanks again for advice all
If it is low muscle tone/hypermobility there are things you can do to help like getting him to drink thick liquids (like smoothie) through a straw, eating spaghetti, and practicing blowing things like whistles (or candles out on cakes!).
There are also some games I have read about where you play blow football with washing up liquid bubbles in a bowl and a ping pong ball or little ball. I haven't attempted this with DD yet as not confident that she won't suck instead!!
Common signs of low tone include excessive dribbling. My DD rarely dribbles these days but does hang her mouth open especially when she's concentrating on doing something.
SALT assessment might be worthwhile just in case but I do think he sounds in the normal range to me.
Thanks, he does drink a smoothy through straw every day but will try the other things. Thanks
Tiger - my friends DD is 6 (almost 7) and still doesn't speak clearly. She was assessed 6 months ago and the ST said she was fine - still some sounds to 'come in' but nothing at all to worry about - her teacher was suprised she'd been assessed as she said she's one of the clearest in the class which suprised us as even we still struggle with her sometimes. She says sh instead of s (great when she's telling the dog to sit! LOL) and other things - 6 months on she's much better, but still not perfect.
Her little sister is even worse - she's 4 almost 5 and was a late talker, she is very hard to understand and you find yourself saying 'oh right, yes love' like you do when they're tiny... it's not good. We often have to get her to describe the 'thing' differently so we understand - different ST said she is fine too.
The thing is you risk making a child too self conscious if you make an issue out of it and yes, you may make their speach better quicker - but you risk making them unwilling to speak in front of the class etc.
If I was you, I would try to determine the sounds that he's not pronouncing properly and see what drinks/games/fun things you can do without telling him what you are doing.
An assessment wont hurt as long as you don't make a big deal out of it and it may put your mind at rest.
Thanks I do agree. I don't want to make a big deal about it and make him self conscious. I guess that it is knowing where to start though.
Does anyone know of any good websites of exercises / games that you can try?
Here is speech sounds chart which will help you work out which sounds are a particular concern
The games we were taught were taking it turns with you (and other dc) to say their "tricky sounds" and then you get your turn in the game, pop up pirates was a favourite.
We also learnt to split the words up, so dd said gog instead of dog, so we practiced saying "d" pause "og" and then over time making the pause shorter until there wasn't one.
If there is a sound he can't say on it's own for example "s" we used to have to say "s" along with the action for s and then later on practise words like "snake" but again using the pause between "s" and "nake"
Advantage of therapy is that they will tell you which sounds and words to practise with although if you google you may find a list of recommended words for developing certain sounds.
Also model back to him the correct sound.
"Yes darling that is a dog"
then weeks later it's okay to say
"do you mean gog or dog?"
At nearly 4 he is at an age where he should be able to realise that what he is saying sounds different to what you are saying if you draw his attention to it.
My youngest had severe speech delay (dd2 just had mild - moderate delay due to glue ear) and despite having passed an NHS hearing test twice actually had a very flat "hearing curve" so what she heard was distorted, low frequencies were too loud/dominant and was acutally near hearing impaired for the high frequencies and we used johansen therapy and it cured the hearing issue and then the speech therapy worked very quickly.
What I realised was that the new words the dds learnt were correct it was changing the words they had learnt to pronounce incorrectly that took the longest.
With glue ear you have to remember that they can't hear when their ears are bunged up and then when they can hear again their brain has to learn to rehear again. If he's had his grommits for near 2 years they may well have fallen out by now and he may be suffering with glue again (it doesnt cause ear infections although it can make them more prone IYSWIM)
I see you have had plenty of advice here, but just wanted to say that i went through the same thing with my sons speech.
He does not have a hearing problem, and basically it was just a case of lazy speech.
sausage was hosige, pink was hink and there were many sounds he didnt even attempt.
I felt it was such a problem that when he was due to start school last september ( the term before his 4th birthday in wales) i delayed his start till january because although i could decifer what he was saying i knew other people couldnt.
He was refered for speech therapy and we worked together with very simple techniques and he was discharged from therapy after his second session.
Now its hard to remember he ever had a problem, he doesnt stop talking.
Hope you get things sorted.
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