Do people have trouble understanding what your child says?

If people have difficulty understanding what your child says to them then this article is for you. You probably find yourself asking a bunch of questions about their pronunciation (aka speech).  Is it ok for their age?  Should they be able to say that sound? I can understand them so why can’t others? When do I need to get help? These are all really important questions so keep reading to find out the answers.

Whilst every child develops differently there are some key milestones when it comes to your child’s speech development. If your child doesn’t meet these milestones you or other less familiar people can be find it difficult to understand them.  This can cause your child to become frustrated, they may become withdrawn and their confidence can drop.


Research has found that persistent speech sound disorders, in other words those that are present at school entry and beyond, can negatively impact on a child’s literacy development.


It’s clear that early intervention is the key to success when it comes to speech. But the question is when should you seek help from a Speech Pathologist?  Family and friends may tell you not to worry explaining how their child “caught up” or “grew out of it”. GPs may tell you to wait because your child is too young.  These people mean well by their advice however they’re not qualified Speech Pathologists and don’t actually know whether or not you should be seeking help for your child.  Waiting can be incredibly detrimental to your child. Getting help at the right time will improve your child’s speech, make them easier to understand, build their confidence and prevent them from going on to have literacy difficulties due to ongoing speech difficulties.


So, here are the two main ways for you to work it if your child may need help.

  1. Intelligibility

Although it sounds related, intelligibility has nothing to do with your child’s intelligence. Intelligibility is a general measure of well people can understand your child when they’re talking.  Here’s what to expect…












  1. Speech sounds

Your child should develop certain speech sounds by a certain age.  This is what increases their intelligibility over time. As your child gets older their speech should become more accurate.  Here are the different sounds and when you should expect to hear your child using them when talking











If you’re worried about your child’s speech, trust your gut and reach out to a qualified paediatric Speech Pathologist (one who works solely with children). Our Speech Pathologists see children who have speech difficulties every day.  We can implement treatment to improve your child’s speech so they can be understood by everyone, reduce their frustration and build their confidence and prevent literacy difficulties due to ongoing speech difficulties.  Click here to send us an email or call us on 9653 9955.