Speech Sound Disorder: Help Your Child at Home

help your child speech sound disorder

What is a speech sound disorder? The term “Speech Sound Disorder” encompasses a variety of disorders with variable causes that may affect a child’s speech. A child may have difficulty with speech sound production due to difficulty with motor planning, a disorganized phonological system, or they simply do not know how to say a sound. Treatment will vary depending on the cause of your child’s speech sound errors, so it is best to ask advice from your speech language pathologist for tips on how to best help your individual child’s needs at home.  Here are some overarching tips on how to help. 

5 Tips to Help A Speech Sound Disorder at Home

  • Repeat what your child just said but with correct pronunciation. It is also helpful to emphasize the incorrect sound your child produced. For example, your child said, “Look, a goggie!” Revise their pronunciation by saying, “Oh, I see the doggie!”
  • Avoid imitating your child’s errors no matter how cute they can be. If you prefer, you might video their utterances to admire them, but try not to reinforce the incorrect sound productions.
  • Model words during play or daily activities. For example, you might model the words, “see, swing, sound, and ice” while on a walk with your child. Even without asking your child to say the word back, they are subconsciously learning from the auditory input you provide. 
  • Practice successful words. Practicing words your child can say well will given them a sense of accomplishment, and they will be practicing the sound correctly instead of incorrectly. 
  • Start simple. As with any task, we start with simple words when working on new sounds in speech. If your child is working on S, start with modeling “see” or “ice” repetitively. Once your child has heard the word many times, they might try to say it. If they don’t say it correctly, that’s okay! They tried! Acknowledge their effort by saying something like, “Oh, I see the car too!”

These suggestions do not have you asking your child to repeat words. Children might become understandably frustrated when asked to frequently repeat words. Additionally, incorrect practice reinforces the incorrect pronunciation. Children benefit significantly from auditory input, and if they choose to imitate your models, that is a bonus!