Speech Development Suggestions


Pay attention to your child when s/he talks to you. Listen to what s/he is saying, not how s/he is saying it. Reinforce the content.

Keep your own speech at your child’s level of understanding. Use short, simple sentences, which will be easy for her/him to copy. Whenever possible, be sure s/he can see how you are pronouncing your words (ie., be face to face).

Whenever possible, indicate that you have heard and understood all or part of what your child has said by repeating what was said to you as soon as s/he has finished her/his statement. This can be done simply by saying “Yes, the….(repetition)”. In this way the child knows you have understood and s/he has a chance to hear immediately the correct pronunciation of those words s/he has not said clearly.

Accept her/his misarticulations. Re-use words in a calm natural way and continue the conversation without making a lesson of clearer speech e.g. “Gib me a das a water” “Yes I’ll give you a glass of water”.

If your child expresses concern about her/his speech, it is wise to say that s/he does indeed say some words differently, but this is not at all serious. You can assure her/him that most people improve as they get older.

Discourage other children from imitating or laughing at your child’s mispronunciations.


Don’t make suggestions such as “slow down and talk clearly”. Take it for granted that s/he is speaking the best s/he can at this time. Don’t let your child think that her/his speech is not good enough to please you.

Never discuss your child’s speech problem when s/he can overhear you. There is no need
for her/him to feel her/his speech is a cause for concern.