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Why Can't My Child Say...

Parents ask me all the time about why their child uses certain sounds incorrectly. Usually, the simple answer is that the sound has not developed yet due to their age. Usually, children do not develop all of their sounds until age 7. Surprised? It’s important to realize that all children develop differently, but speech therapists have a general outline of when children generally develop certain sounds. Below you will find a general timeline for the age children typically develop sounds. Please note that if your child did not acquire the sounds at the age given, this does not necessarily mean that your child needs speech therapy. However, if you do have a concern, then you should contact a licensed speech-language pathologist to discuss your child’s development.

Age 2

  • /b/= Ball

  • /p/= Pig

  • /m/= Me

  • /d/= Dog

  • /h/= Hat

  • /n/= No

Age 3

  • /f/= Foot

  • /g/= Go

  • /k/= Key

  • /t/= Toe

Age 4

  • /kw/= Quack

Age 5

  • /ch/= Chicken

  • /j/= Jump

  • /l/= Leaf

  • /s/= Soap

  • /sh/= Shoe

  • /y/= Yellow

  • /bl/= Blue

Age 6

  • /r/= Ring

  • /v/= Van

  • /br/= Bread

  • /dr/= Drink

  • /fl/= Flower

  • /fr/= Free

  • /gl/= Glove

  • /gr/= Grape

  • /kl/= Clothes

  • /kr/= Cry

  • /pl/= Play

  • /st/= Star

  • /tr/= Tree

Age 7

  • /z/= Zoo

  • /sl/= Sleep

  • /sp/= Spoon

  • /sw/= Sweep

  • voiced “th”= This

  • voiceless “th”= Bath

Please note that the developmental ages demonstrated above are for monolingual English-speaking children. Bilingual and monolingual children of languages other than English will have sound development that will differ. If you have additional questions or concerns, contact TheraPlay Bilingual Solutions at

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