A Brief Summary

By the age of 5 years, most children should be using a full range of speech sounds, with the exception of 'r' coming a little bit later.

If your child is in their first year of school or in their pre-school year they may be experiencing difficulties if they: 

  • Only use a small number of sounds 

  • Are swapping sounds, 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 difficulties with longer or more complicated words, e.g. aeroplane or computer


7% of all children have a speech and language impairment; it’s the most prevalent childhood disability, but a condition that is much misunderstood. These children can have a rich communication experience, with lots of support from parents, but despite this will have a specific language impairment. They are developing typically in other ways, for example, they have no additional learning, physical or sensory difficulties. They also start school without the language they need in order to learn and are disadvantaged from the start. Children within this group have differing needs, dependent on the nature and severity of their difficulties. They need specialist support in order to learn and communicate to the very best of their ability. (The Communication Trust, 2014)


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