3 1/2 Year Old Speaking and "K" Sounds

Updated on January 14, 2010
A.L. asks from Anna, OH
10 answers

My son is almost 3 1/2 years old and he's still not able to pronounce the back of the throat sounds. Cookie sounds like 'hootie' and Grover is 'wover.' Is he behind in his language developement? I wasn't too worried, mostly just looking for ideas on how to teach him these sounds.

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answers from Omaha on

Let me start by saying that every child progresses at their own rate! I would not be worried about anything just yet. Both of my children had their own issues which worked themselves out as they aged.

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answers from Bismarck on

Various speech sounds develop at various ages. The "k" sound typically develops between 3-4 years of age. Other sounds like th and z often don't develop until 6-8 years of age. There is an Acquisition of Speech chart that shows the approximate ages that children will develop the speech sounds. Basically:
p, m, h, n, w usually develop by age 3
b, k, g, d, f, y usually develop by age 4
t, ng, r, l usually develop by age 6
soft th usually develops by about 6 1/2
ch, sh, j usually develop by age 7
s, z, v, loud th, and zh usually develop by age 8

Kids can develop sounds earlier or later...this is just when they typically develop them. If you become concerned about your child's speech please consult a Speech Language Therapist but if you are just looking for ways to improve it...model the sound often for your child but try not to exaggerate it. If you are a fast talker, slow down a little when you talk. It's best not to have the child repeat your speech because it can make them self conscious about it.

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answers from Rochester on

Please don't worry about this! My nephew had difficulty also - he's now in Kindergarten and learning pronunciation... It can be very normal! As long as you are taking him to his annual check-ups with the doctor you've got nothing to worry about!



answers from Milwaukee on

Hi both my youngest daughters had speech problems. My oldest had problems with articulation just as your son does. Some people feel that a child will outgrow these things, but as an educator I feel both ways and experiencing it first hand we opted for speech therapy from our local public school. Our daughter had articulation issues due to many ear infections, she is 17 and is 40% deaf+ in both ears, so she wears hearing aids. When she was about 3.5 years we had her assessed for speech articulation, she was put into a 1:1 program in our local school 2x a week and was given "homework" to do on sounds she had difficulty with, concentrating on one until it was understandable, if it didnt we moved on and came back to it later. We found it very helpful and it helped when she went to school, where speech was still continued until she was about 7. I as an educator of children ranging from preschool-8th grade at one time or another highly recommend an assessment and seeking services for your child, it may take longer than you think for these to be outgrown and once your child starts school they will assess him for speech if the articulation issue is still present, but it can be started as early as 2 yrs 10 months. Hope this info helps. D.



answers from Minneapolis on

I'll be interested to see if you get any ideas because my son who is almost 4 also still has trouble with some sounds like the "th" sounds and the "r" sounds. It may just take time.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am not a speech therapist (I am a preschool teacher), however, I think he is right on target. Don't concentrate on drilling him, you will end up creating psychological issues and self-consciousness.

He will develop the sounds naturally. As I recall from my studies in linguistics, back of the mouth sounds develeop last. If he is not making those sounds by the time he is 5, then you can get some help.

Just continue to model the pronunciation, without correcting him (repeat it back to him correctly when he says it incorrectly, but keep it low-key. Don't drill him)

My guess is that he will be making those sounds by the time he is 5.




answers from Appleton on

It sounds like he may be tongue-tied. Take him to his doctor and have him looked at. Also ask for a referral to a speach therapist.



answers from New York on

Kids can pronounce sounds incorrectly for many reasons one just being habit to one being a speech issue like hearing or being tongue-tied. Just keep saying it correctly back to him so he hears it and maybe play a game of making letter sounds. K is a sound you make in the back of your mouth so practice with him in a mirror. Many kids like this. Also read books with the sound k in it. I know one site http://www.speech-language-development.com/articulation-s... that you can go to but do a search and there will be many sites for both you and your son to go to to learn! Hope this helps!



answers from Bismarck on

Here's a trick that a speech therapist taught me that you might try. Both the /k/ and /g/ sounds require the tongue to move back toward the throat and it's hard to show a child but if they lay on their back on the floor, gravity pulls the tongue back into the proper position and it is easier for them to make the sounds correctly. Join him on the floor and read the /g/ and /k/ pages of an alphabet book or make flash cards with words you want to practice. Once he can get the sound lying down, try semi reclining and gradually work your way up. Have fun!



answers from Wausau on

Hi Angie,
My daughter also has this problem. She started preschool at 3 yrs, 5 mths. I was pretty sure she had developed a problem but was going to give it a few weeks at the school before requesting an evaluation. I knew her teachers very well. By the end of the first they asked if I had trouble understanding her. I said YES! but I was scared it was just me since my education background was in Special Ed for the Hearing Impaired. (We all say we get nervous at the slightest problem with our own kids) The speech therapist visits the preschool every week so she sat and listened to the group for a while. She said yes my daughter needed an evaluation. At that point it was beginning to cause problems socially. If the other kids couldn't understand her, Madi would just stop talking and put her head down. Her evaluation showed she her oral comprehnsion was a year past her chronological age...her articulation rate (what we can understand when she speaks) was that of a 2 yr/9mth old child. the was the lowest the test goes down to. The speech teacher worked with her each week for 45 minutes and sent home papers and things for us to work on. We did this for the 2 years in preschool. This is covered under the Intermediat School District. It does not cost anything to have the evaluation done or the speech therepy. Our therapist was excellant. Now my daughter is in kindergarten. She is still having problems with "K" and a hard "G" as in Grandma. The therapist she has now...well we can't be any less impressed. We have met with our superintendant (we have an extremely small school district) and she has spoken with the ISD about our concerns and hers. Now my daughters IEP has expired and we havent' heard from the therapist. Usually they 'invite' the parents to the IEP meeting. Now I have to call the ISD. I've been to 3 of her speech sessions...there are 3 other children in the class (not uncommon when you reach grade school) but they never work on anything specific to each child. It's extremely frustrating. These are the formative years. The child has to get this dealt with...it isn't necessarily something they will grow out of. Physical development is only part of it. Start the process now. Your son may get the hang of it before starting kindergarten...if not stay on top of things. I hear all the time how 'cute' my daughter sounds...well she gets frustrated when people don't know what she is saying. And will it be cute at 17 during the prom? Will it be cute in a college class? Ummm...not so much. Good luck to you and your son. I hope you have a therapist as wonderful as ours was in the preschool years. My daughter made alot of progress with her (she did plateau at one point but thats normal). And stay on top of things. You are your sons best advocate.

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