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Difficulties with Speech Sounds

This can include difficulties with:
  • Muscles used to create different sounds. This can be due to muscle weakness and may be linked to difficulties like cerebral palsy.
  • Sending messages from the brain to make different speech sounds. This may sometimes be described as 'dyspraxia'.
  • Learning and using different sounds to make words. This can be called ‘phonological difficulties’.

Phonological difficulties (difficulties with sounds)

Most children follow a similar pattern in learning sounds. Some children have difficulty in learning and using sounds in the right places for words.


Young children with phonological difficulties

During pre-school years, children will learn lots of different sounds. They will also learn how to organise these sounds into words.


Primary-aged children with phonological difficulties

Usually, most children will be using a full range of speech sounds by the time they are 5 years. Some children however, will have difficulty in developing these skills.

Primary-aged children may be experiencing difficulties if they:

  • Only use a small number of sounds.
  • Are swapping one sound for another e.g saying 'tat' instead of 'cat'.
  • Are missing the ends off words.
  • Have difficulty with vowel sounds e.g. saying 'poor' instead of 'pear' or 'pot' instead of 'pat'.
  • Have difficulty with long or complicated words like 'banana' or 'aeroplane'.

Good sound skills are needed when learning to talk. They are also important for developing reading and spelling.

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