By 4 years of age, your child’s speech should be clear and understandable to unfamiliar people or strangers (e.g. shop assistants), even if a few speech sound errors persist.
You may find your child’s speech easy to understand as you have become accustomed to their way of speaking but other people may regularly ask you to interpret what they are saying
Your child may need to see a speech pathologist if:
- they are 3 years (or older) and familiar adults can’t understand most of what they say,
- they are 4 years and can’t be understood by unfamiliar adults in everyday conversations,
- they are frustrated or upset that others can’t understand them or
- a health or early education professional raises a concern about their speech clarity or how they pronounce certain letters.
Use the McLeod & Crowe’s (2015) “treehouse” infographic to see the average age that children learn to pronounce English consonants correctly.
If your child is unable to say one or more sounds for their age then speech pathology assessment is recommended.