Speech Sound Development
for children in Perth

Fussy Eating

There are certain times when children’s specific speech sounds develop.

The following information is a guide as to when speech sounds should develop naturally.


Age Sounds that should have developed by the
given age
3 months Beginning to make cooing sounds
5 -6 months Laughing
Playful sounds
6 months Babbling sounds (e.g. puh, buh, mi)
I year Babbles longer.. string of sounds
May produce words (e.g. dada)
Is making communicative gestures (pointing)
3 years ‘h’, ‘zh’(measure), ‘y’, ‘w’, ‘ng’(king)
‘m’, ‘n’, ‘p’ ‘k’(car/ kite), ‘t’, ‘b’, ‘g’, ‘d’
3; 6 years ‘f’
4 years ‘L’ (lay), ‘sh’, ‘ch’
4; 6 years ‘J’, ‘s’(so), ‘z’ (as in ‘is’)
5 years ‘r’
6 years ‘v’
8 years ‘th’ (as in ‘this’ & thing)

Reference: Bowen, C, (1998). Developmental phonological disorders. A practical guide for
families and teachers. 
Melbourne: ACER Press.

The following is a guide as to your child’s ability to communicate effectively with the familiar
and unfamiliar listener.

Age Typically Speech Intelligibility
2 years

The child should be understood by a familiar listener (eg parent) most of the time.


By two and a half years a child should have between 2000 to 5000 words.

3 years

The child should be understood by both familiar and unfamiliar listeners (not a family member) – 70 -100% of the time.


By three years a child should have over 5000 words in their vocabulary.

4 years The child should be able to clearly communicate a message 100% of the time to both the familiar and unfamiliar listener.

Lynch, Brookshire & Fox (1980), p. 102, cited in Bowen (1998). Does My child Need Speech Therapy?



Tips to help your child speak clearly:

  • Make eye contact with them, and always show interest when they are trying to communicate a message.
  • Repeat the sounds / words that are unclear so they can hear the correct production of words / sounds. Encourage them, if possible, to repeat the words following your model.

What type of errors should I look for?

Children can have a range of speech errors and the level of difficulty can range from mild to severe. Of course, there are acceptable speech errors that are considered part of normal development, as mentioned in the chart above. However, if a child continues to use these patterns beyond the age that is acceptable, and their speech is not clear and intelligible, it indicates that they may possibly have a phonological disorder.

This is when you need your child to be assessed by a Speech Pathologist.

What is a Lisp and is it normal for my child to LISP?

There are two types of lisps:

  1. A Lateral Lisp

This is NOT considered to be a normally developing sound. It sounds slushy when they say certain sounds (usually /s/ and /z/). It is recommended that your child sees a Speech Pathologist early (around 4 years of age) as they are quite tricky to treat!!!

  1. An Interdental Lisp

This is considered to be a normal developing sound. An interdental lisp is when the tongue pokes through between the teeth when the child says a particular sound (usually /s/ and /z/).

If you are concerned about your child’s speech development it is recommended that you speak to a Speech Pathologist.

Want to book a session?
Call us now!

Perth Speech Therapy has an Alfred Cove clinic. This clinic also provides mobile services to schools, day care centres and homes.

Please phone to find the most convenient service for you:

Clinic Location: Alfred Cove