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Phonological Processes

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Does your child say “top” instead of “stop” or “bock” instead of “block”? Maybe you notice that your child says “nana” instead of banana or “puter” instead of “computer”? Your child may be demonstrating phonological processes, which are patterns that young children use to simplify adult speech. Many children use these processes while their speech and language are developing.

Below is a list of different types of phonological processes. They are broken down into the following three areas: syllable structure, substitution, and assimilation. If you hear these sound patterns beyond the age at which they should have resolved (listed below) we recommend reaching out for a free phone consultation or speech evaluation. Complete our therapist match survey and we’ll match your child with a speech pathologists that specializes in treating phonological processing disorders. 

Syllable Structure: Sound changes that cause sounds or syllables to be reduced, omitted, or repeated

Cluster Reduction is the deletion of one or more consonants from a two or three consonant cluster (e.g. “poon” for “spoon”, “tuck” for “truck”). Should resolve by the time a child is 4 without /S/ and by age 5 with /S/.

Final Consonant Deletion is the deletion of a final consonant sound in a word (e.g. “cuh” for “cup”, “dah” for “dog”). Expect this sounds pattern to resolve by the age of 3

Initial Consonant Deletion is the deletion of the initial consonant sound in a word (e.g. “up” for “cup”, “un” for “sun”). If your child is using this phonological process, we recommend speech therapy regardless of their age as this is an unusual pattern that typically indicates the presence of a significant phonological delay. 

Weak Syllable Deletion is the deletion of a weak syllable in a word (e.g. “nana” for “banana”, “puter” for “computer”). This process resolves by the age of 4

Substitution: Sound changes in which one sound class replaces another sound class

Backing is the substitution of a sound produced in front of the mouth with a sound produced in the back of the mouth (e.g. “gog” for “dog”). If your child is backing his or her sounds, we recommend speech therapy regardless of their age as this pattern is typically seen in children that require speech and language intervention to resolve a significant phonological delay. 

Fronting is the substitution of a sound produced in the back of the mouth with a sound produced in the front of the mouth (e.g. “tey” for “key”). This pattern resolves by 3.5 years of age

&•Gliding is the substitution of a glide (w, y) sound for a liquid (l, r) sound (e.g. “yike” for “like”, “wug“ for “rug”). Gliding resolves by the age of 6

Stopping is the substitution of a stop (b, p, t, d, k, g) sound for a fricative (f, v, s, z, h, th, sh, zh) or affricate (ch, j) sound (e.g. “toap” for “soap”, “tair” for “chair”). Your child should no longer stop their sounds after the age of 3 for /F/ & /S/, age 3.5 for /V/ & /Z/, age 4.5 for /CH/, /SH/ & /J/ and age 5 for /TH/

Vowelization is the substitution of a vowel sound for a liquid (l, r) sound (e.g. “bay-uh” for “bear”). Vowelization typically resolves by the age of 6

Affrication is the substitution of an affricate (ch, j) sound for an nonaffricate sound (e.g. “choe” for “shoe”). We should no longer hear this process after the age of 3

Deaffrication is the substitution of a nonaffricate sound for an affricate (ch, j) sound (e.g. “ship” for “chip”). Expect this process to be gone by the age of 4

Alveolarization is the substitution of an alveolar sound for a nonalveolar sound (e.g. “tum” for “thumb”). Alveolarization resolves by age 5

Depalatalization is the substitution of a nonpalatal sound for a palatal sound (e.g. “fit” for “fish”). This pattern should be gone by the age of 5

Labialization is the substitution of a labial sound for a nonlabial sound (e.g. “mouf” for “mouth). Should resolve by age 6

Assimilation: Sound changes in which one sound will start to sound like another, surrounding sound

Assimilation is when a consonant sound starts to sound like another sound in the word (e.g. “bub” for “bus”). Children no longer use this process after the age of 3

•Denasalization is when a nasal consonant like “m” or “n” changes to a nonnasal consonant like “b” or “d” (e.g. “dore” for “more”). No longer present after the age of 2.5

•Final Consonant Devoicing is when a voiced consonant (e.g. b, d) at the end of a word is substituted with a voiceless consonant (e.g. p, t) (e.g. “tup” for “tub”). Gone by age 3

•Prevocalic Voicing is when a voiceless consonant (e.g. k, f) in the beginning of a word is substituted with a voiced consonant (e.g. g, v) (e.g. “gup” for “cup”). This pattern often sticks around until age 6

•Coalescence is when two phonemes are substituted with a different phoneme that still has similar features (e.g. “foon” for “spoon”). Coalescence should resolve by the time a child is 6 years old

•Reduplication is when a complete or incomplete syllable is repeated (e.g. “baba” for “bottle”). No longer present by the age of 3

 

Wondering if your child’s speech sound errors indicates a need for a speech evaluation? We’re happy to discuss your child’s specific speech sound errors. Click here to schedule a free phone consultation or click the button below and we’ll match you with a speech therapist that specializes in phonological processing disorders.