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Evaluating Speech & Articulation Development

Instructor: Jennifer Moon
This lesson gives an overview of methods for evaluating speech and articulation development. It also provides an example of a four-year-old child's speech articulation assessments and results.

Evaluating Speech and Articulation Development

Have you ever listened closely to a baby 'talking'? Most often when we think of infants 'talking', we think about them making sounds like 'mama' or 'bah-bah'. That's because /b/ and /m/ sounds are much easier to make than /th/ or /sh/ sounds. While many of us have never considered it before, our English speech contains over 40 different speech sounds, which includes both vowel and consonant sounds. These sounds typically develop in a predictable order, with some of the earlier developing sounds being mastered by two years of age (like the sounds /p/, /b/, and /m/), and some of the harder sounds being mastered as late as seven or eight years of age (like the sounds /th/ and /r/).

If a child's speech development seems delayed, an evaluation of speech and articulation may be performed (the terms speech and articulation simply refer to how a person's words sound). Vowels are the sounds most likely to develop accurately without any intervention, so we will focus on evaluating the development of consonant sounds, which are much more likely to be the sounds in error as a child's speech develops. When evaluating a child's speech/articulation (these two words can be used interchangeably), an evaluator must always consider the predictable developmental norms, or in other words, in which order sounds typically develop.

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