Speech Sound Development

What sounds are typical for my child to be making?

Remember that speech sound development is a gradual process. It begins in infancy and continues through a child’s seventh or eighth year. Children develop speech abilities at different rates and ages. Some children develop faster or slower than the average. It is best to think about age ranges rather than specific ages for the mastery of specific speech sounds. It is also important to remember that learning to produce a speech sound correctly in all words and phrases is a gradual process.


Speech Sound Development Chart.


I can’t understand my child’s speech? How can I help?

At First Words, our motto is “Talk to your child every day, so your child can talk by 2 and beyond!” Speech sound development is about growing day-by-day. Most children will learn to speak properly as they get older but some may need help.


  • By age 2, you will have a hard time understanding what your child says. Your child should be understood 40% of the time.
  • By age 3, your child may not say all words perfectly. Your child should speak clearly enough to be understood 60% of the time by you and your family.
  • By age 4, your child should be able to produce most sounds correctly but may still have trouble with “s, z, th, r, l”. Your child should speak clearly enough to be understood most of the time by familiar and unfamiliar listeners.


View our communications milestones to see how your child is doing, or check out strategies to help your child here!