Baby Talk: Cute or Not?
Updated: Oct 17, 2018
My child uses baby talk and it's sooo cute. I don't think there's anything wrong with it. But her teachers are saying she's hard to understand and it can hinder her reading skills. Is that true?
Yes... a child who is showing difficulty with pronunciation can indicate that they may develop challenges with learning to read as well as reading comprehension.
For younger children, a good rule of thumb to use when concerned about your child's speech is to determine if they can be understood by an unfamiliar listener. Parents typically learn to decipher their child's speech more so than teachers, peers, and other adults. A child should be understood 80% of the time by an unfamiliar listener by the time they are three years old without the need for a parent's clarification.
Given time, some children may "grow out" of speech sound errors. However, seeking earlier treatment will generally help them overcome it much faster than if therapy is delayed. Earlier therapy also prevents self esteem issues and frustration due to not being understood.
Later developing sounds, such as r, s, z, l should be developed between the ages of 6 and 7. Language is the foundation of reading. Reading and writing allows us to communicate from a distance.
Because speech sound difficulties are correlated with an increased vulnerability to deficits in reading-related processes, it is advised to obtain a speech and language evaluation to determine if your child would benefit from speech therapy at 6 or 7 as opposed to 8 or 10 years.
Our clients show an increased self-esteem and confidence while speaking as they become proficient in using speech sounds in conversation. Their success in speech therapy really makes a difference in their relationships at school and at home motivating them to participate in family discussions and classroom dialogue.