Articulation and Phonological Difficulties

Articulation delays involve the difficulty some children have with the production of specific sounds in speech (e.g. “w” for “r” or “th” for “s”). See below for the average age children learn to pronounce English consonants correctly.

Speech sound development norms

  • “P”, “B”, “M”, “N”, “W”, “D”, “T”, “H”, “K”, “G”, “ING”, “F”, “Y”→ age 2-3
  • “L”, “J”, “CH”, “S”, “V”, “SH”, “Z” → age 4
  • “R”, “ZH”, “TH” (e.g. those) → age 5
  • “TH” (e.g. think) → age 6


Phonological processes are different ways that children simplify speech as they start to talk. Phonological disorders occur when these processes are not eliminated past a certain age (e.g. tar for car, gog for dog, or pinning for spinning, top for stop).

Expected ages by which phonological processes should be eliminated

  • Backing → K and G for T and D (e.g. gog for dog) → more severe
  • Fronting → T and D for K and G (e.g. do for go) → eliminated by 3.5 years old
  • Gliding → W for R and L (e.g. wiwy for lily, wock for rock)→ eliminated by 6 years old
  • Stopping → P for F, T for S (e.g. pish for fish, tong for song)→ eliminated by 3
  • Stopping → B for V and D for Z (e.g. bideo for video, doo for zoo) → eliminated by 3.5
  • Stopping → T or D for SH, CH, J (e.g. dim for gym) → eliminated by 4.5
  • Stopping → T or D for TH (e.g. dis for this, tumb for thumb) → eliminated by 5
  • Cluster Reduction → second sound in a blend (two consonants together) is deleted (e.g. pay for play, top for stop) → eliminated by 4 without S and 5 with S
  • Final Consonant Deletion → last sound in a word is deleted (e.g. haw for hot) → eliminated by 3

What can we do to help?

At Express Yourself Speech, we will work with your child on both articulation and phonological difficulties through games, worksheets and engaging activities. This will help your child to be more easily understood by others!