What age should my child stop making speech errors?
We all know how cute toddlers sound when they are learning language. Silly errors in speech make for adorable laughs and great stories for when our children grow up. But when does it stop being cute when your child says "paghetti" instead of "spaghetti" and instead becomes something we should address with therapy? That is a complicated question, but let's try to break it down!
Speech errors through development are absolutely normal and most errors will naturally fix themselves through development. But, just like with gross and fine motor milestones, speech develops in a natural sequence and there are points when, if milestones are not met, we risk our children continuing to miss future milestones. There are two types of speech errors our children make during development: articulation errors and phonological errors. Articulation errors are incorrect productions of individual speech sounds (think a lisp!) while phonological errors are patterns of errors made when producing a word (think /L/ becoming /W/ every time such as lion->wion). Both articulation errors and phonological errors are typical in development, but there are ages and benchmarks at which they are no longer age appropriate and should be addressed in therapy.
Below are age expected correct productions:
By age 2-3 our children should be correctly producing:
p, b, m, d, n, h, t, k, g, w, ng, f, y
By age 4 our children should be correctly producing:
l, j, ch, s, v, sh, z
By age 5 our children should be correctly producing:
r, zh, th (voiced such as "these")
By age 6 our children should be correctly producing:
th (such as "think")
Below are when your child should be correcting the most common patterns of errors:
By age 3 our children should stop:
fronting ("tootie" for "cookie")
reduplication ("baba" for "bottle")
final consonant deletion ("ca" for "cat")
By age 4:
deaffrication ("shew" for "chew")
weak syllable deletion ("nana" for "banana")
By age 5:
alveolarization ("tu" for "shoe")
depalatalization ("fit" for "fish")
By age 6:
gliding (/R/ and /L/ become a /W/ or a /y/)
labialization ("pie" for "tie")
Again, errors are typical when your child is developing language! If you do suspect your child may be continuing to make speech errors beyond typical development, please reach out to a speech language pathologist to consult and evaluate!