2021 Speech Pathology

21 Speech.JPG

When parents and teachers have concerns about a child’s speech:

‘Speech’ refers to the sounds we make when talking and we combine these sounds to form words. There is a typical pattern to sounds that children learn at different ages. Sometimes, children can have difficulties using accurate sounds. We can identify how a child’s speech is developing and if they need help with learning how to use sounds when talking.

Speech errors can be because of articulation and/or phonological difficulties.

Articulation – how we use the structures of our mouth and respiratory system to produce sounds. Articulation disorders are due to motor errors when making sounds in words, sentences and conversation.

Phonological – involves acquiring and organising the patterns of sounds and speech in our brain. Children may have difficulty using sounds in the right places of words but are able to produce the sounds when prompted.

How to help:
  • Avoid correcting speech errors or making children say them again. Instead, try to model words back to them in a natural way.
  • If you are unsure about what your child has said, repeat back what you did understand and give them opportunity to try and say it again.
  • Using physical items or gestures can help children to get their message across. Model back to them and give them a chance to practise the new word.
  • Play and talk with you child face-to-face. This will encourage them to look at your mouth and see how you produce different sounds.
  • ​Read books and talk about what is happening to encourage ‘listening skills’. You can model sounds and reduce the pressure on children to answer questions.
  • Seek a referral to a speech pathologist if you have concerns about your child’s speech.
Keep an eye out for more tips about communication and learning from me in future newsletters.

Ashlee Hamilton (Speech Pathologist – School Based)
ahamilton@bne.catholic.edu.au