Most children develop the ability to move and speak in a predictable pattern. Although every child varies, we use speech sound norms (information gathered about many children) to help us know when we might expect a typical child to make certain speech sounds.

Bilingual Children and Speech Sound Development

Bilingual children develop speech skills as other children do, but there might be differences during some stages of the process. We encourage you to use the language(s) of your home with your child. For more information, go online to www.asha.org/public/speech/
development/bilingualchildren

Speech Sound Development Norms (English Speakers)

Age

Initial Sound

Medial Sound

Final Sound

2
Years

/b/ /d/ /h/ /m/

/n/ /p/

/b/ /m/ /n/

/m/ /p/

3
Years

/f/ /g/ /k/

/t/ /w/

/f/ /g/ /k/

/ng/ /p/ /t/

/b/ /d/ /g/

/k/ /n/ /t/

4
Years

/kw/

/d/

/f/

5
Years

ch/ /j/ /l/ /s/

/sh/ /y/ /bl/

/ch/ /j/ /l/

/s/ /sh/ /z/

/l/ /ng/ /ch/ /j/

/s/ /sh/ /r/ /v/ /z/

6
Years

/r/ /v/ /br/ /dr/

/fl/ /fr/ /gl/ /gr/

/kl/ /kr/ /pl/

/st/ /tr/

/r/ /v/

 

7
Years

/z/ /sl/ /sp/ /sw/ /th/

/th/

/th/

Based on information at mommyspeechtherapy.com.
Speech sound norms taken from the Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation-2, 2000.

Speech Sound Positions

The age at which a child can make a particular speech sound depends on whether that sound is at the beginning, middle or end of a word. For example, a child learns to make the correct /d/ sound over several years:

  • Age 2: initial /d/ sound at the beginning of a word (“dog”)
  • Age 3: final /d/ sound at the end of a word (“hand”)
  • Age 4: medial /d/ sound in the middle of a word (“spider”)

Speech Sound Development Table

If your child speaks English, you can use the table below as a guideline for your child’s speech sound development. It shows at what age most children (85 percent) correctly make consonant and consonant-cluster sounds. It shows what sounds:

  • Typically develop within the first 2–3 years
  • Might not fully develop until 4–5 years
  • Might develop as late as age 6 or 7

Your speech and language pathologist can help explain what sounds the letters and symbols in the table represent.

Resources

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
www.asha.org/slp/schools/prof-consult/norms

ASHA provides an online packet with articles and resources about developmental norms with speech sounds and language.

Questions?

Please contact your pediatrician or Gillette health care provider, or call Gillette at 651-229-3900 and ask for a speech and language pathology clinical educator or a speech and language pathology supervisor.

You may also ask if there are norms available for languages other than English.

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team.