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Cannot say 'th'

(25 Posts)
pumkinsmummy Sun 28-Nov-10 19:13:18

My little boy is now 4 and cannot day the 'th' sound and starts these words with f' or 'd'. Any tips on how to correct this? I have started a sticker chart with rewards but just want any advise from mums who have been through this. Will he outgrow it or does he need speech therapy. Look forward to your replies - thank you

lillybloom Sun 28-Nov-10 19:23:26

My ds (5) is still the same and says f infront of h words eg Fuge instead of huge. He went to a speach therapist and was told he would grow out of it. I've noticed a few of his classmates do similar things.

mrz Sun 28-Nov-10 19:23:49

Make sure he puts his tongue out between his teeth exaggerate it to begin with

pooka Sun 28-Nov-10 19:27:05

My dd used to say 'y' instead of th. So yen for them and ye for the. Stopped at about 5. Ds1 is now 5 and does exactly the same although is more resistant to correction.

CherylAnnTweedy Sun 28-Nov-10 19:29:57

Repeat the words back to him when he says them, really exaggerating the tongue between the teeth. But he is very young still and may be a while before he grows out of it. My ds2 is 5 and struggles still with several sounds and 'blends'.

CloudsAway Sun 28-Nov-10 19:46:44

I've got a 5 year old pupil who physically can't do it yet - he simply can't make a sound when his tongue is out, and no matter how hard he tries, he always ends up putting his tongue back in before the sound comes out, and he says 'v'. I'm hoping that with a little more maturity, he'll have more control over his tongue and lip muscles. So it might be a matter of waiting til his muscle control is a bit more developed.

Cyb Sun 28-Nov-10 19:53:02

It is very common not to be able to say 'th' at this age
In fact LOADS of adults STILL cant say it

PinkElephantsOnParade Mon 29-Nov-10 00:11:30

My DS did this when younger. Teacher just said leave it and he will grow out of it.

He is 9 now and has just about grown out of it. There is no real difference in his speech compared to others in his year.

So I would just give it time and it will probably go of its own accord.

I would be sure to pronounce the words back to him correctly so he can hear the correct sounds, but don't make a big issue about correcting him. He might get very self conscious if you do this and be discouraged from speaking at all.

ChippingIn Mon 29-Nov-10 00:28:23

It's seems fairly normal for children to have one or more of these things at his age.

I would drop the star chart, emphasise it slightly when you say it, but other than that, ignore it and he'll grow into the 'th' sound. I think if you make too much of it now you will make him uncomfortable speaking to other people/engaging fully in class discussions etc.

My friends little girl had several and at 6 it was getting a bit worrying, when she saw the ST she said it was perfectly normal and her teacher said she wasn't sure why she'd gone to the ST as she was far far far from the worst in the class hmm

mamadou Mon 29-Nov-10 01:56:22

Hi my ds1 had this problem too. He is now 5.2 and he is just coming out of it. As a parent you do panic and I did try and make him practise the 'th' sounds. I think now this was totally pointless. He grew out of it and I read that it isn't treated as a speech disorder because there are plenty of dialects that don't use 'th'(the Irish accent for example tends to use 'd' instead of 'th')


maktaitai Mon 29-Nov-10 02:29:52

It's a really complicated sound - normal not to be able to use it fully until around 6/7.

What is the accent like around where you live? Is it usual not to use 'th'?

If in a couple of years you notice it happening in some words and not others (this? that? with? nothing? something? myth? the?) then either it is starting to come through and it will increase, or else he may be using some local accent words.

You could look for stories (or write them yourself) that have lots of the sound in them, and read them to him. And look for opportunities to say it to him (if he's asking for something, you could say 'this one or that one? the thick one or the thin one?)

seimum Mon 29-Nov-10 10:19:28

DD1 had speech therapy when she was 5 as she had problems with 'k' and 'l' sounds. Once these were sorted, I pointed out to the speech therapist that she could not pronounce 'th' either. The therapist's comment was 'neither do most of her classmates!' (we live in West London) & that was the end of the speech therapy.

She still (age 20) oesn't pronounce 'th' properly, but it hasn't held her back.

seimum Mon 29-Nov-10 10:19:53

That should be 'doesn't'.

pumkinsmummy Mon 29-Nov-10 10:55:41

Thank you all for your replies, I really appreciate your time and advise. I will ease off and see how we go :-)

blushbabybambu Tue 14-Dec-10 22:02:22

A late reply but here's what we did - make sure ds can see the different mouth positions between th and f - have him look at you and in a mirror and himself. Have him feel with his hands if you like (your mouth and his). Make sure he knows which words should be said with th. I made up some picture cards (three, fan, thumb, finger thick thin etc) and he would shout it out. Also have some fun with it - whaever gets a giggle - tongue twisters, saying people's names with a Th at the beginning (Thamanda instead of Amanda). It is common at this age... but I could't stand the thought of hearing 'fink' in place of 'think' lol!

BlathIceSkate Tue 14-Dec-10 22:17:51

I looked this up as DS who is almost 4 has trouble with 'th' as does DH. MIL says DH had a problem with his tounge as a child and I wanted to be able to get help for DS if this was the case and it was the same thing. I found out that 'th' is one of the last sounds to be learnt and it can take up to age 7 for it to be picked up.

I wouldn't worry aboout it yet. Don't correct him too much, just repeat the words back to him correctly as part of your coversation. I'm sure he'll pick it up naturally before long.

ScatterChasse Wed 22-Dec-10 23:12:22

I had to learn a poem to practise this when I was 5ish (but I did lots of speech and drama so was used to having to learn poems).

I wouldn't worry too much (I can say it perfectly now smile)You could give it a try though if you're desperate to do something?

Arthur and his father,
They rode from South to North,
The length and breadth of England
'til they reached the Firth of Forth'.

ChasingSquirrels Wed 22-Dec-10 23:18:36

ds2 is nearly 5 and has just been signed off from ST.
When he was first assessed (well, 2nd - a year ago when he was 1st assessed they told me to come back in 6mo if it hadn't improved) he was basically unintelligible - she had a book of sounds and he could do maybe 10%.

ds2 has worked really hard at making all the sounds, we have had 6 months of correcting words, sitting in front of mirrors so he can see how his mouth makes the sound, forming sounds, playing with sounds etc.

Anyway, he has just been signed off - and the only sound he can't do now is the "th". The SALT said that it should come as they do the "th" sound in phonics at school (although my mum who taught reception for years said she would dispute this).

snowedinthesticks Thu 23-Dec-10 15:24:30

My DS2 could not say th when he was four.
I realised all of a sudden when he was stating school and felt guilty that I had done what many parents do, and ignored it because it was cute.

I had spent a lot of time with infants as a parent helper and my completely unprofessional opinion is that poor speech hinders reading.

I explained to him that he was going to to practise saying it properly and we both went around with tongues out going thththththth for a few weeks. He soon got the hang.

Karoleann Thu 23-Dec-10 18:31:04

Nope mine can't say it either (4.5). He also says sly for fly (oddly) SALT not worried (privately). Said come back when 5.5 if still problems

zayla Thu 30-Dec-10 03:25:53

I have problems saying 'th' - won't say how old I am!

The trick which I got from a voice coach is to start with your tongue at the the top of the back of your front teeth.

However, I didn't even realise that I couldn't pronounce it properly until a few years ago and it's never caused me any problems!

thirtyfivepence Thu 30-Dec-10 03:29:58

Dh is nearly 8 and has to be reminded when singing to use the sound th(is choirboy type.

He can spell all the th words though - so he does hear the sound and can use it - I guess it's just easier not to.

ampere Sun 02-Jan-11 21:03:44

DS2 is 9 and we've missed the ST boat, unfortunately. Where I live, sadly, the inability to pronounce 'th' is associated with 'wrong side of the tracks'!

Eglu Sun 02-Jan-11 21:05:26

I'm pretty sure 'th is one of the harder ones for children to get. The SALT that DS1 saw when he was 4, said not to worry until he was at least 7.

CaurnieBred Thu 06-Jan-11 11:47:20

DD (6) also does this but so does her father - Norf Lahndon, innit. Aargh. I try my best to emphasise the difference between the "f" and "th" sounds but as DH speaks this way he sees no reason to help me or reinforce me. I just think it sounds dreadful: "nuffink" is my main bugbear. I am winning when she is reading out loud but how much longer will she be reading out loud for??!

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