Parents often want to know what sounds their child should have or be using correctly. Today's post focuses on what your 5 year old should be able to do. If you missed our post about 4 year olds, find it here!
By the time your child is 5 years old, they should be able to make most sounds correctly on their own without help or reminders (with the exception of R sometimes, which we will touch on later). At 5 years old your child should be able to easily produce the following sounds all the time in conversation: all vowel sounds, H, M, B, P, W, F,V, K, G, Y, L, Blends (e..g, two sounds together--SM, GL, etc), S, Z, SH, CH, J and typically, R and R blends (e.g., GR, BR, PR, STR, FR, KR). Most children will start being able to use TH and ZH (e.g., vision; fusion, television) on their own by 5 years old, but technically these sounds aren't mastered until the age of 6.
Now, time to talk about that "R" sound! Children often master their "R"s around 8 years old, so experts call R the "late 8". However, in our experience most children will naturally acquire this sound well before that time and waiting that long (or longer) to get it fixed just makes it harder.
The reason some children easily acquire R on their own and other children do not can depend on a few things. Maybe your child has some low muscle tone through their lips, mouth, tongue and/or jaw (see our article here about fun activities you can do at home to strengthen up your child’s oral musculature). Or if your child needed help acquiring other sounds before R, it is likely they may need help with this tough sound.
Another important marker to think about is how intelligible your child is (i.e., how much can other people understand what your child says). A child of 5 years old should be at least 95% intelligible-- meaning people should understand at least 95% of what your child says, regardless of if the context is known or unknown.
As we talked about in this post, the iPad can be a useful tool with the right boundaries. Along with being mindful about how you use technology with your child, it's important to find apps that you can actually use for your child's language development. Here are a few of The Speech Space's favorite apps and some ways to work language skills into the technology.
Pepi Doctor: Your child gets to be the doctor in the this app! They choose what part of the patient they want to help and then they take care of all their ailments. This app is great for working on real-life vocabulary. In addition to vocabulary building there are also opportunities to help your child understand the functions of items; such as, a thermometer is used to take your temperature or the dentist uses the drill to clean your teeth. The Pepi Doctor app gives your child a way to play with instruments in an environment where you can explain more about them. You can also have your child explain to you what they did to help the patient in the game and why the patient needed help. Additionally, this app is good for inferencing and describing.
Using apps can be a fun and innovative way to work on building your child's language skills. However, it is important to remember that children do learn best through real-life engagements and interactions. If you are choosing to use apps with your child make sure you are truly using the apps with them. We'll add some more of our favorite apps in future blog posts, so come back to check them out!
If you have questions or concerns about your child's development, contact us at The Speech Space! We offer free screenings, which take approximately 30 minutes, and can help identify potential problems.