10 Childhood Speech Error Patterns Speech Pathologists Can Help Resolve

As a child’s speech and language skills develop, they can sometimes go astray in the sense that they start to display certain error patterns in their speech, and this is when a speech pathologist may be required to help them overcome these problems. It can be the case that a child displays just a single speech error pattern or several different ones.

Speech error patterns occur when a child uses different sounds than the ones they should. These are often associated with children replacing letters or sounds with other letters or sounds on all occasions. An example would be using “W” instead of “R”, so the phrase ” red rose” becomes “wed wose”. Outlined below are more details on this and nine other speech error problems a speech pathologist can treat.

#1 – Gliding: This is the example we just gave, and as well as the letter “R” being replaced by ‘W”, it can happen with the letter “L” too. This leads to phrases like “The little lady is looking at the large dog ” pronounced, “The wittle wady is wooking at the warge dog”.

#2 – Deaffrication: Affricate sounds occur when we ‘rub’ two individual sounds together such as “T” &”SH” becoming the “CH” sound in “chair” or “D”&”ZH” becoming the “J” sound in “jump”. If deaffrication occurs it means the child is omitting the first part of the speech sounds so “chair” is pronounced “shair” and “jump” is pronounced “zhump”

#3 – Cluster Reduction: For words that have clusters of consonants at the start such as words like “scatter” and “spoon”, some children with speech error patterns will omit the first consonant leading to those words becoming “catter” and “poon” respectively.

#4 – Stopping: Some speech sounds can be prolonged like “F”, “V”, “Z”, S”, and “TH”. Others stop quickly like “P”, “B”, “T”, “D”, and “K”, also known as “plosives”. Stopping occurs when a child replaces longer sounds with plosives so “soft and furry” can become “poft and durry”.

#5 – Voicing: This touches on how vocal cords work with some sounds bringing them together and others meaning they are apart. Controlling our vocal cords is called turning them on or off but children with voicing errors struggle with forming certain sounds meaning some sentences they utter make no sense.

#6 – Assimilation: This refers to errors made due to the articulators in our mouth such as our lips and tongue that we need to make sounds. When children are “lazy” in the sense they want to use little effort when using their articulators to speak, assimilation occurs and the first or last sounds within words are changed.

#7 – Final Consonant Omission: One of the easiest speech errors to define in the sense that it simply means a child will omit the last consonant of a word. So a sentence like “ I want my big red car” is spoken as “I won my bi re ca”

#8 – Weak Syllable Deletion: Many words can have both soft and hard syllables. For example when we say “telephone” the “le” in the middle is soft whereas the “te” and “phone” are hard. With this speech error, children will just say the hard syllables and omit the soft ones so telephone would be pronounced “te-phone”

#9 – Fronting: This is another speech error related to articulators and in this case, it is the tongue. With sounds like “SH”, “G”, and “K” the tongue is at the back of the mouth, but when speech errors occur it comes to the front so instead of saying “good” or “shiny” the child might say “bood” or “diny”.

#10 – Reduplication: This occurs when a child repeats the first syllable of a word twice instead of completing the whole word and often makes a child sound like a baby saying its early words such as “dada” or “nana”. Examples include “din din” for “dinner” and  “pan pan” for “panda”.