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Children's health

R & W speech difficulty

8 replies

LittleGlowingOblong · 24/11/2023 09:47

My 6yo has quite good speech but he says W instead of R in many words.

He was a late dummy user, due to various stressors (hello Covid).

Am I right in thinking at 6yo it can still resolve? Or should I arrange speech therapy. If he doesn’t change he’ll be like Jonathon Woss.

I’ve seen some info online and videos on YouTube so can maybe try a couple exercises with him at home.

OP posts:
Wolvesart · 24/11/2023 09:58

My DC had similar - he used to say ‘Diss, dat, uzzer’ for ‘This, that, other’ for example. He was a thumb sucker until 6, had a tongue tie as an infant and was very prem. I honestly can’t remember when things corrected but he could certainly say things in a more conventional way before secondary. I used to put it down to the tongue tie and thought he’d praps always have it. However, I now think it was the gradual developmental unfold of the catch-up from his prematurity. He was off the scale tiny and smallest in school for very long time but is now tall.

LittleGlowingOblong · 24/11/2023 11:16

Thanks for the reply. Mine was born late, and due to timing is one of the oldest in his year.

Hopefully he’ll grow out of his rhoticism, I don’t know whether different kinds of lisp have different causes and therefore different resolutions!

OP posts:
Dilbertian · 24/11/2023 11:34

One of mine was like that. At 6 said W for R, said F or V for TH, and lisped. His little brother was born when he was six, and ds1 even asked me if I had named ds2 such-n-such name to force him to say his THs properly. Ds1 is sharp! But it wasn't the case at all - the TH in ds2's name hadn't even occurred to us.

I don't remember when exactly he mastered R and TH. Certainly well before the end of primary. Learning to spell words like feather and thief definitely helped. Playing tongue-twister games also helped. I'm very good at tongue-twisters and the dc love to catch me out, so if I saw ds1 making a genuine effort to get sounds right (eg The Leith police disimisseth us) then I would deliberately get it wrong.

By the time ds1 got braces at 14, he only had a slight lisp. Braces brought it back and he had to relearn how to say S. As an adult, he speaks clearly and distinctly, with just a slight lisp.

MsFrog · 24/11/2023 11:58

Google phonological awareness activities and give some a go. Start with whether he can hear the difference between the sounds on their own, then in words (Google minimal pairs R and W for word examples). Can he hear the difference when you say it? What about when he says it?

Also, see if he can actually make the R sound of he tries. Google R articulation games or something. That'll get you started. If he can, you can start making it by itself, then with a vowel (ra, roo, rii), the words.

On the flip side, you don't want to make him massively self conscious by making a huge deal of it. I'm sure you'll know best yourself how to gauge it.

LittleGlowingOblong · 25/11/2023 06:15

Hmmm…. I can be a bit tactless, so thanks for the reminder to keep it light touch @MsFrog !

Thanks to both of you for the suggested exercises.

OP posts:
Angrymum22 · 25/11/2023 06:50

Make sure you have his hearing checked. DS used to say L for Y. He was diagnosed withe chronic glue ear and after surgery to place grommets and remove his adenoids the speech problem disappeared.
He also used to say poppy rather than puppy which is why our current dog ended up being called Poppy.

Wolvesart · 25/11/2023 11:43

Back on the subject of tongue ties. It’s also a thing to just have quite a short tongue or a tongue tie that’s not significant enough to be dealt with. The tell here is often that the person can’t tongue trill, as distinct from lip trill. My DH very subtly can’t pronounce Rs, or tongue trill - short tongue. His sister paid privately in her 20s to have an op to improve her singing ability. She’s a professional singer.

Regarding lisping - judging by all the ads on afternoon tv, a lisp is an asset at the moment 😂 I say this light heartedly but actually think some institutions are promoting sss. Listen to how BBC Sounds ads over emphasise ssss.

SoupDragon · 25/11/2023 11:44

One of my DSs had this. I can't remember when it resolved but he saw a speech therapist in Y2 who was not at all concerned. He's an adult now and there is no hint of there ever having been a problem.

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