Speech Therapy – How do we start?

Many families and children coming to our clinic have concerns regarding their child’s speech sounds.

At our initial consultation with a family we will discuss these concerns, what they mean for you as a family and how we can progress from there.

This will usually be through assessment to determine if your child’s speech sounds are within the average acquired expectation for their age.


The age of acquisition of speech sounds varies quite significantly among children. This diagram identifies the age by which 75% of children use the speech sound listed accurately in conversation.

Your Speech Therapist will discuss the sounds they determine as in error for your child according to these known ages of acquisition.

Won’t they just grow out of it?

A child with persisting speech difficulties (functional speech sound disorders) may be at risk for

  • Difficulty communicating effectively when speaking
  • Difficulty acquiring reading and writing skills
  • Emotional and Social difficulties

Where to from here?

Your speech Therapist in discussion with you will determine where to start to help your child say sounds correctly and clearly. Treatment may include the following:

  • Learning the correct way to make sounds
  • Learning to tell when sounds are right or wrong
  • Practicing sounds in different words
  • Practicing sounds in longer sentences

As the usual adage states, “you have to walk before you can learn to run” and the same goes for Speech!

The different stages your child has to walk through before running with their new speech sound is as follows:

  1. Auditory Discrimination hearing when it is right and when it is not.
  2. Isolation This means producing the sound by itself.
  3. Syllables – consonants plus vowelPracticing the target sound in syllables by adding a vowel to the target sound.
  4. Word Level – working through the start of words, end of words and lastly in the middle of words
  5. Phrase then Sentences – starting with a repetitive sentence e.g I dropped a  ___ and then moving onto unique sentences
  6. In Stories  – Stories that contain a high repetition of the target sound can be read out loud and then once read a few times, retold by your child.
  7. Conversation  – Conversations can be centred around topics that contain some of the target words practiced through your activities.
  8. Generalisation  –Providing specific feedback and reinforcement throughout the day in different environments.

Intervention approaches vary depend on your child’s area of difficulty, this is why Assessment and discussion with your Therapist is vital to ensure you can determine a best fit approach for your child.

In determining your Therapy Targets and Method your Therapist will consider:

  • Teaching and encouraging self-awareness of sounds in error and self-correction, this ensures your child is equipped to independently run with newly acquired speech sound into life.
  • Collaborating with teachers and other school personnel to support your child and to facilitate his or her access to their school work
  • Managing psychosocial factors, including self-esteem issues

We are here to Make it Happen and to guide you on this journey from Assessment, Therapy and onwards to independence.

If you have any questions about your Journey please feel free to chat with your Therapist.

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