Reasons Why Your Child Can Say a Sound But Isn’t

Enrichment Therapies

March 28, 2024

speech-language pathologist working with child

By: Kaylie Wright, M.A., CCC-SLP

Have you ever wondered if your child’s speech is developing as it should? We know it can be confusing to know what to expect at each stage of development. As your child learns to talk, they are constantly saying new words and trying ways to move their mouth. Talking is a very complex skill that takes a lot of coordination from muscles and structures in the mouth. As a child speaks, they hear not only what and how they say things, but also how others understand them. This gives them clues as to whether or not they are saying things correctly. Here are some reasons why your child may not be saying their new sounds all of the time. 

Sound In Words

Saying a sound in isolation is easier than saying it in a word. When saying a sound by itself, the focus is just on that one sound being practiced. However, once that sound is said next to others, children have more to think about. As previously stated, talking is a very complex skill and requires a lot of coordination. Now, more coordination is needed to say the target sound in words, sentences, or conversation.

Sound Pattern

Your child may be working to learn a new pattern of how to say sounds in words. If they have been saying a sound incorrectly for a while, a new pattern to say the new sound needs to be created, which can take time. 

Sound In Different Word Positions

If your child says the new sound sometimes but not all the time, they might have more difficulty with the sound in some word positions than others. They may also have created a new pattern for some words but not for all words containing that sound. 

Hearing Different Sounds

Another reason your child may not be saying their new sounds is because they can’t hear the difference between sounds. For example, a /f/ and /th/ sound very similar and your child may not hear the difference between the sounds that others are saying and they are saying.

Enrichment Therapy & Learning Center Supports Speech Success

Knowing what is developmentally appropriate and when to seek further support can be confusing. It can be especially confusing when you know your child can say a certain sound, but they are not using it on their own. These are some reasons why your child might not say all new sounds all of the time. However, working with a speech-language pathologist will help you know what is developmentally appropriate and how to support your child best as they grow and develop! 

Call to schedule your free screening with our team of specialists today!

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