Childhood Diseases

Posted by: Purple | 2009-07-22


Children' s speech development

My son is 5 and a half years old.

He started speaking at 9 months (words like door and light and so on, he' d been babbling dada and mama to the right people since about 6 months).
By 14 months he was joining words together and at 17 months he spoke his first full sentence.
He was also understandable to strangers from around the 12 month mark, though prior to this, my extended family were able to understand him.

He had some hearing loss at around 20 months due to ear infections and we put grommets in.
His speech hadn' t deteriorated in this time, but it hadn' t improved either. Once the grommets were in his speech was almost immediately clearer (and his general behaviour improved dramatically as he was no longer in pain, and his sleeping improved and he was hardly sick again).

He once again had some hearing loss at just on 5 years due to ear infections and we put grommets in again. HIs speech also hasn' t deteriorated, but I noticed that he did mispronounce some of his newer words. He has a very extensive vocabulary.
However, he is not saying the letter " r" , he is still pronouncing it as a " w" . I know that up to a point this is normal and comes right without any intervention (I know that at a younger age he couldn' t say " s"  properly but it just came right naturally) .
Should I be worried at this point or is this still within the range for normal?
He is also confusing a " v"  and a " b"  sound, but I point out that it is bu for bouncy ben and vvvvvv for vera' s violin and then he corrects himself.
The the " r" , " w"  confusion, he actually can' t say R - it isn' t just a sound confusion.

I don' t want to leave something that I should be addressing but at the same time don' t want to make a fuss if this is still developmentally normal. Because of the two periods of reduced hearing (although it was moderate the first time and mild the second time), I am a little bit worried about it. I have noticed that most of the other children his age can say the " r"  sound.
He can however go " rrrrrrrrr"  like a motorbike. But he says " wed wobber wobot"  and " that' s wight"  and " is this my left or wight shoe?" 

Do I need to send him for speech therapy, or shall I wait until next year to see if it comes right (wight)? (he will be in grade R next year not grade 1 as we opted to keep him with his age group), so if it is a problem, we do at least have about 18 months to get it right.

Expert's Reply



You must be sure that your son's hearing is normal. Provided that you are certain that he can hear, this is the time for him to go for speech therapy.He need sto be speaking perfectly normally by the time that he starts in Grade 1.

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