Speech with Three Year Old

Updated on July 06, 2008
M.C. asks from Saint Paul, MN
60 answers

Has anyone had a struggle with getting their child; our daughter is three years old, to say the letter "L" and the sound "th" if so what have you done to help with this problem. Our daughter consistently replaces the letter "L" with a "W" when she says things and replaces "th" with "D" most of the time also. I have been doing a little research but all I come across is that she needs to go to speech therapy something in the lines of her having Functional speech delay. But I imagine this is something I can tackle here at home. Any advice is welcome.
Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Wow! Thank you to all that have posted responses. Much appreciated. Our pediatrician is the first one to mention the possibility of a problem but I think we are going to hold off till next school season and see what happens with her speech. I have no problem understanding most of what she says but other seem to have a little bit of trouble. I have a feeling it is mostly because of how quiet she is. She does use 5+ word sentences very well and understands what we tell you very well also so I am not going to worry too much now and am probably just going to try a couple of fun exercises that have been mentioned.

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K.Z.

answers from Seattle on

Three is really too early to know if she will need help. Most kids haven't fully developed their speech until 2nd grade. My son couldn't say his T's until he was 5...he has no problem now and never needed intervention.

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T.W.

answers from Portland on

I think it is completely normal. My son is 3 and has the same problem. My daughter is 6 and she talked the same way and it worked its self out. Don't stress about it. Their little mouths just arn't developed enough yet to make those sounds corectly yet.

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J.T.

answers from Anchorage on

I have a 6 yr.old son and I caught the situation late. I did try lots of things at home. I would sit wth him and watch ELmo and we would sing the lalala song over and over again. Him putting the tongue outside to say the LA worked. He would get tired of it and when he did I let him go play so he doesn't think he is in trouble but that did work. The "th" is hard. I had him put his tongue between his teeth top and bottom and blow and it made a funny sound and he liked it. Don't push them they will get the hang of it. It is more a parents worry then it is a child's hassle. Good luck.

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L.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Veronica,
As a Kindergarten teacher I can tell you that there are several sounds, including those you mention, that, developmentally, kids will work through by the time they are 6 or 7. Most speech therapists won't even consider working with a child unless an issue is truly SEVERE, or they are older (7 or 8) and haven't worked through learning these sounds. The best thing you can do is enunciate really clearly when you say words with these sounds. The rest will, most likely fall into place in the next few years. =0)
L. A.

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T.J.

answers from Seattle on

I would hardly call this a speech delay. These are simply hard sounds to form and most three year olds I know have some problems with them that disappear by four. Just work on the alphabet and use words that have those sounds in them. All childrens' speech develops at different rates and should be caught up to their peers by kindergarten. The standard is that a stranger should be able to understand a 4 year old 100% of the time so you're fine!

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D.H.

answers from Portland on

Just about a month ago I consulted with a speech pathologist regarding my 3 year old's speech, so the following information is directly drawn from what he told me...

At this age, there are three areas of "speech" that are evaluated: How well she understands what others are saying, how well she can put together words and sentences (she should be able to say sentences using a minimum of 5 words), and how well others understand her.

If your child does not have problems with the first two areas, then she probably does not have a hearing or cognitive problem. If people are generally understanding the gist of what she says, then she probably does not have a speech problem but is just still learning how to say certain sounds.

Furthermore, "L" and "th" are among the more difficult sounds for children to master, and it commonly isn't until they are 4 years old or older that they can say these sounds.

So I'd say don't sweat it -- don't pressure her -- her speech will probably continue to evolve. If you are still worried as she approaches 4 years old, then consult your pediatrician.

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D.B.

answers from Richland on

I agree with TJ, that I would hardly be worried at this point about speech delays. I have been a teacher for 3 years and I have seen speech delays and this does not qualify! I also have a 2 1/2 yr old and he switches L for the Y sound and also has a hard time with th. Some sounds are harder to form with the tongue and a lot of young children just do not have the mouth control or ability to form the specific shapes or movements needed to make the sound.

I am not sure where you are located, but in the fall and spring in most school districts they bring in a speech pathologist and you can usually have your child tested for free, but I would not be concerned at this point!

Hope this help! :) Have a great day!

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L.D.

answers from Portland on

These are common mistakes. Your daughter is "marking" the letter sound with another sound, which is good. For example, the word "that". It is better to say "dat" than "at". She knows there is a sound there, just can't quite make it yet. Most speech paths won't work with the R's, S's and Th's until first or second grade. You can have her evaluated, but they probably will suggest waiting. Early Intervention Programs are free, and serve and assess kids up til their 4th birthday.

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A.D.

answers from Seattle on

Children have up to 6 years of age to master those sounds, if she is not using them by 6, then you can have an assessment done, free from the public school system, or you can pay for private assessment. Chances are she will master them well before six. Relax, it will happen. The more pressure you put on her the more she is likely to resist. It will happen. The best you can do is model the proper language. Chances are if you pronounce the words the way your daughter does she will recognize that you are saying it incorrectly. Google 'assessment of articulation and phonological processes' and see if a chart comes up that gives the age level for consonant articulation. If you can't find it, I can scan mine and email it to you.

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R.S.

answers from Portland on

Your daughter's speech doesn't sound out of the ordinary for her age and I personally wouldn't worry about it. She is still young. As her role model, and her mom just keep talking to her and engaging her in normal conversation is appropriate.

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R.G.

answers from Portland on

Hey Veronica,

My advice would be to contact your local Education Service District. You can do so by calling the elementary school in your area as asing for the number to their ESD. Because of No Child Left Behind (yes, the curse of education), children as young as your daughter often qualify for early intervention services. They have cerified speech and language teachers/pathologists who can do an assessment and then determine if your daughter is eligible for services. If they determine she does need help, they will either provide this service for free or (sometimes depending on income) they will refer you to another resource.

Some children do struggle with minor language delays and difficulties with these very letters, and they can grow out of it. Still, to be safe, I'd check with the ESD.

Hope it helps!

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J.C.

answers from Portland on

It sounds like this has been covered, but I will add that I agree that 3 is too young to be so concerned with this. My daughter is almost 3, and started talking very eary, yet still can't say her L's, S's and Th's correctly.
I had speech therapy when I was a child, and didn't get it until I was 8. To this day, I have no problems pronouncing my S's.
I am not saying to wait until she's 8, but I would definately advise to relax and wait a 2-3 years before putting her in speech therapy.

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T.M.

answers from Spokane on

It doesn't sound like your daughter is having speech problems. She is three. My son is 5, he still has problems with L and TH, and his kindergarten teacher and the speech therapist at his school have both said that he is perfectly fine, I had him run through every speech test there was, and it is simply that young tongues have a hard time forming those letters. Give it some time, she will figure it out.

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L.M.

answers from Bellingham on

My daughter is almost 3 and she has trouble with the "L" and "Th" sound too. I have no concerns what so ever about her speech and would NOT consider or even think about a speech therapist at this point. Almost all the kids in our Toddler group all replace "L" with "W", it is perfectly normal at this age. I just keep clearly saying the words with L's and have no concern that my daughter won't finally catch on once her mouth learns to make the sounds correctly.

E.S.

answers from Richland on

I saw it a lot in my students this year (I work at an elementary school). The earlier you can get her into speech therapy the sooner her speech can be corrected. Some kids can't even hear that they are doing it. For some kids it's just a matter of not being able to wrap their tongue around a certain sound. L seems to be a particularly common one. Check with your local Head Start or ESD to see if there are early intervention services available.
There is nothing wrong with having your child in speech therapy. It is usually a lot of fun for them!
Good luck!

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M.W.

answers from Seattle on

My daughter is six and has a speech delay that was diagnosed when she was 3 and a half. She has been in speech ever since. She has just started working on her Ls. Most children don't finalize that sound until they are five or six.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

Hi Veronica,

I have a background in child language acquisition and I agree that this does not sound like a speech delay.

"L" and "TH" are the most difficult sounds in the English language - some non-native English speakers never learn how to say them correctly - even after living in an English speaking country for over 20 years!! My Godmother immigrated here from Holland at age 21 - she's now 65 and she still says "D" in place of "TH."

The advice you got below (I forget the mommy's name!) was excellent - if this is the ONLY speech problem you have noticed, you don't have anything to worry about.

The things to notice are: does she understand you and others? Can she speak sentences of 5+ words that are put together correctly? Is she mostly understood by others?

If the answers are yes to the above, she's just working on pronunciation of those difficult sounds.

If you're at all worried, however, I would recommend you have her tested by a speech therapist. It certainly wouldn't hurt her!

Best of luck. M.

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N.W.

answers from Seattle on

Hi Veronica,

It is very common for little ones to have problems with certain letters as they are forming their speech. They usually over come it on their own.

My youngest had the same problem and we made a game of it. His brothers name is Larry so we made up a little song and we would say la la la larry.We found other things that started with L and did the same thing. People would look at us and smile as we were shopping because we would continue the game singing la la la lettuce at the grocery store etc. We worked with him looking in a mirror so he could see his tongue work too. We made it fun and included a lot of praise. At first he would say wa wa wa warry but with practice he conquered his L's He never stressed about it as it was a game and we made sure to keep it fun.

We found that the biggest secret was to know when to back off and have fun.

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J.D.

answers from Seattle on

I have a 4 year old daughter, and we just went over her speech evaluation, and those sounds are ones that they are not concerned about until later like 6 or 7 years old. If those are the only sounds she has problems with, and a stranger can understand her about 80%-90% of the time I wouldn't stress to much, she is right on track. :)

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A.K.

answers from Seattle on

My daughter was the same way! When she was in kindergarten (5yrs old), her teachers name was Ms. Lynch. Needless to say, most of the kids called her Ms. Winch. This is a common thing for kids! My daughter learned how to pronouce her "l's" very well be the end of the year. I think it is a little early to get too worried! Hope this helps!

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G.R.

answers from Spokane on

Hi Veronica - One of my boys has been in speech therapy since he was about 18 months old. He had many ear infections & he sees an ENT on a regular basis (he has recently got a tube in one ear as well as close monitoring we caught a different issue with his ear that needed surgery - he is better now but we still have to keep an eye on it). I too resisted at first with my son's language/speech development but I decided that to settle my questions & the concerns of others, I took him in to a SLP for an evaluation (many times this is covered by health insurance). I am very glad that I did. He does have a language/speech delay and the SLP is very easy to work with & gives us ideas to use at home to follow through with the therapy. Yes, you can have your local school district do an eval but many times you would have to wait until school starts again and they may not be able to give you ideas on what to do at home - that all depends on how exactly the special ed dept is set up. With summer here check at you local hospital or ask your peditrician for a referral to a good SLP that can do a complete eval including receptive & expressive language as well as articulation. It does not sound like your daughter is as delayed as my son but getting an eval is still worth it just to get the correct ideas/tools to help at home. It is always worth it to go the little extra mile & know for sure because if there is an issue early intervention will help make learning in school much easier. Take Care

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S.W.

answers from Seattle on

I wouldn't stress too much if those are the only sounds she can't make. If you are really concerned you should talk to your pediatrician about it. Our now 3 1/2 year old has been in speech therapy for about a year now. He has come a long way. Before speech therapy he wasn't talking more than a couple words. He still has some problems with certain sounds, but if we just slow him down and make eye contact with him then he will repeat the correct sound back most of the time. you can try to reinforce the correct sounds with your daughter by getting down to her level and making her look at you while you make the sound. Then you have her try to repeat it back to you. We are lucky in that we have excellent insurance which covers all the costs of the therapy. If you have the insurance then why not try it out. I'm guessing that your daughter probably doesn't need it, but I would seek a professional opinion on that. Children's hospital is a great resource for a non-biased opinion. I think you have to have your pediatrician reccomend them to get in, but they are very nice and will put your mind at ease.

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C.S.

answers from Seattle on

My three year old daughter does the same thing. The funny thing about her is she had perfect speech a year ago. (Well perfect for a two year old.) When we went in for a checkup, I asked the doctor about this new speech pattern. He said not to worry about it that she "picked it up" from other kids and will revert back to normal speech and I should not spend any time correcting her. He said that is would make her "self consious" about talking and the speech pattern would get worse. (It does seem to be getting better, but I can still hear it at times.)

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M.V.

answers from Seattle on

Veronica

My son could not pronounce the letter "L" when he was 3 years old. He would say "yook" instead of "look" but everyday we would say words together and he loved being read too everynight.

I was a little concern but I was told that children were still growing and certain letters would eventually be pronounced right once the child gets older.

I worked with my son by playing games and pronouncing things with words that had the letter "L" in them. He would watch the way my mouth would say a word and then he would repeat exactly how I said it.

He is now 14 years old and he is the most smartest kid I have ever known. He is an Honoral Student and very advance for his age.

So I wouldn't worry so much. Your daughter will eventually learn to say the letters correctly. Good luck

MAR

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S.M.

answers from Portland on

We are struggling some with my daughter who is four, though on different sounds. I wouldn't worry about your three year old, she is on track if those are her only issues. "th" is one of the last sounds and they aren't considered behind on that until age 7 or 8. As for the "l" I think that is 4 or 5. All speech evaluations are made by age so your daughter is fine. Just keep saying them properly to her and she should pick them up on her own in time.

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H.C.

answers from Seattle on

My son is 3 also and he also does L's as a W. Can you get her to make the "L" sound at all, like by itself? He can pronounce an "L" but when using it in words he uses the "W". I really don't think there is an issue with your daughter, just normal kid's stuff, but I am not a professional.

Best of luck!
H. C.

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A.G.

answers from Seattle on

It is pretty normal for a three year old to not be able to say some sounds. They often will develop those sounds on their own in time. My daughter was in speech therapy for a few years and stopped before she learned to say her "r" sound. She just wasn't ready yet. Within a few years of ending therapy, she has developed the sound on her own.

If it is really important to you that she fix them now, you could talk to a speech therapist and ask for some exercises you could do with her. Elementary schools have speech therapy services, so if you need to go that direction, they can help.

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J.S.

answers from Anchorage on

Well I have 3 boys 8,5,2 my oldest two boys have both had speech problems. There is alot that you can do at home but I would have her tested because there are specialests who know more and they can tell you if it is just normal 3 year old talking or if she will need more. I know that are school distric has a group on speech that tests kids and let you know if they need more. It is really nice program they have put both my boys in speach therapy class daycare. And since it is with the school distric it was free. Good Luck

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B.C.

answers from Portland on

My daughter is 4 and has several sounds that are difficult for others to understand. She also doesn't have the'th' sound yet and several other mispronunciations.
I had tried to research online before this appointment and found it difficult to come up with information that I understood how to apply to my daughter. About six months ago I started helping my daughter at home. I would only focus on one sound at a time. She would say, "fpit" and "fmart" instead of "spit" and "smart". I told her to make the 's' sound like a snake, which she could do no problem and then the 'm' sound like mom which was also easy for her. Then we practiced putting them together. We all gave her a lot of praise for her successes and as my younger boys were just learning to walk and get a lot of attention for that, she was getting a lot of attention for saying her words. I told myself I would continue helping her change her sounds as long as it was a positive thing for her. I moved onto the 'l' sound at the beginning of words ('yips' instead of 'lips) and then moved onto the 'l' sound in the the middle of words. For that, I just showed her how my tongue comes out of my mouth and touches my teeth. That one she picked up pretty easily too and it really helped others understand her. The next sound I started on was the 'l' sound at the end of words. This one was much harder and she started saying she didn't want me to help her. I decided our positive relationship and her not feeling criticized by me was more important than the few sounds she mispronounces. I was very curious though if I should be worried or getting outside help for her. So that's why I asked for the referral to the speech language therapist. I took her to get a speech eval recently (referred by her pediatrician at her 4 year appointment at my request). It was an hour appointment with a very friendly lady who my shy daughter seemed comfortable around so it was a painless process. She ended up scoring a 95 (100 is the mean with 85 to 115 the normal range) so slighly below average but in the normal range. The therapist suggested working on the word, 'give' first which my daughter pronounces, 'gwive' and also helping her slow down her speech to make it easier for others to understand her. She said the 'ch' and 'sh' sounds are halfway developed and will come with time and the 'th' will also come naturally (by 5 I think she said). She recommended that I not work on the 'l' and 'r' misproununciations at the end of words because they are just too hard to teach at this age. She doesn't need to see my daughter for speech therapy but wants to see her again in four months to see how things are developing. So, it was mostly reassuring but not a waste of our time. I felt it was informational. I hope this is helpful. My boys are getting very antsy with me on the computer so I'll stop there but would be happy to tell you anything more that I know if you're interested. Feel free to E-mail me. [email protected]____.com

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C.D.

answers from Portland on

Hi Veronica,

I must say that it sounds like what your daughter is experiencing with your daughter is normal. Our daughter just turned 3 a couple months ago, and she does the same thing. In fact, all 4 of our kids struggled with this one way or another. Our four-and-a-half year old daughter still struggles with saying "th", so I wouldn't worry. : )

Hope this eases your mind. Just enunciate these sounds when talking to her on a normal day-to-day basis, and that seems to help.

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B.D.

answers from Seattle on

I still go through some of this with my son, who is now 5. You could try some things at home, but could also try a speech therapist. Depending on where you are and if you are on state medical for your daughter, the state would pay for the costs...if there isn't a free speech therapist in town. Things I did try though, were to hold your child in your lap in front of a mirror and you both try saying things together. Let her see how your mouth forms itself to pronounce something. I've done this with my son and it has helped greatly. :D

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M.B.

answers from Portland on

I have 4 children 3 are teens and they all talked like that. If you keep saying the word the right way she will be fine

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S.M.

answers from Portland on

my son's name is Leo we pronounce it Lay-O.
when other kids ask him what his name is he says Wayy-O.
So the children call him Wayy-O and he says No! it is Wayy-O... poor guy!

He's three.. I think replaceing the W for an L is the most common one for kids. they'll outgrow it.

A speech Therapist will simply teach her where to put her tounge. So you can work with her a few minutes a day showing her where to put her tounge.

I really think if you are only hearing those two letters confused that she'll be just fine. They are the most common.

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C.A.

answers from Richland on

I came from a family of 8 and have 5 children of my own. My mom taught me a lot about teaching children. I had a younger brother with this problem. My mom would have him work on words that begin with the letter he was having trouble with. For instance, for the letter "L" she would show him a picture of a lion and repeat the sound for L several times then say the word lion. Practice this with different words. Don't push her, give her time and let her work at her pace. Three is still young and very normal to have a hard time with some letter sounds. It is very likely that she will grow out of it. If she still has trouble by the time she gets into school, you may want to look at speech therapy.

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A.A.

answers from Portland on

Just an FYI, you can have her assessed for free through your county. We did it with our son who is developmentally fine, even advanced, but has a few speech issues. He has been approved to take speech classes -- ALL FREE! If you are in multnomah, check out multnomah education service district.

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L.H.

answers from Spokane on

My son just turned 3 in April and he too has problems with his speech. I was told your local school will do speech therapy for free. Christian has problems finishing almost every word. I can tell that he is getting better but he will still need some speech. I wouldn't worry too much because they will get better. I do however think she needs to be seen by a therapist. Call your local elementry school.

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I.J.

answers from Seattle on

I am currently a foster mother to three great kids but have raised 4 birth children and 2 foster children to adulthood. I've been doing foster care for numerous children for 8 years now. I cannot imagine that at age three, she could be diagnosed with a speech delay as many sounds have not developed fully in many children. Most public schools have a program that tests, or checks the speech of children free and also supplies speech therapy weekly free. They work with the parent to guide them through the program. Check with your local school system. I.

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K.W.

answers from Portland on

You might talk to a speech therapist and see what ideas he/she could give you. Find out what sorts of exercises you could do at home and then if things don't improve, go back.

Here's a link with some suggestions:
http://www.urbanmamas.com/urbanmamas/2007/05/speech_langu...

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M.J.

answers from Portland on

Speech Therapy is free through your school district. The same was with my daughter and she had therapy for a year. It truly helped. I recommend an evaluation to see if she needs it and from there decide if you want to proceed with therapy or ask for advice that you can do at home.

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R.R.

answers from Seattle on

Our son had problems with speach and other areas. Before he was 3 we took him to Holly Ridge for testing and thearpy. Your daughter is too old for it now, but you still could get your son tested by them, they actually start with younger childern too. But for your daughter, go to the school district. If you are in Central Kitsap County you can contact them at Clear Creek Elm. School. It would be best to contact them before the end os the school year. Once they find she does have a problem through testing, they offer therapy and as with our son will give him therapy through the school year until he no longer needs it. This is a great way to go because they will tackle any other areas help is needed.
From experance I have found sometimes it not the speach itself, it is the way the child hears the sound, so maybe have her hearing checked to. Any other information you may need feel free to contact me at [email protected]____.com
Best of Luck
R.

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M.S.

answers from Seattle on

Perfectly normal! Just always speak correctly to her, which I'm sure you're doing.

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A.S.

answers from Eugene on

Have you tried sitting with her and really showing her how the L sound and TH sound are made, really exaggerating the movements and making a fun game of it?

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B.K.

answers from Seattle on

If she is 3 yrs old you can contact the puyallup school district or which if district you are in and have her tested to see where she is developmentally. If she needs help they can recommend programs and or put them through their programs. They will explain everything. If nothing else Mary Bridge Childrens hospital has programs also. Good Luck B.

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C.M.

answers from Seattle on

Some people prefer to wait and see what happens when the child learns to speak better and see if certain sounds are just delayed a bit. Doctors sometimes do this, too. But I suggest having at least one meeting with a soctor or speech therapist for two reasons. One is that there may be an identifiable and treatable issue, such as a hearing problem or physical impairment like "thicker tongue" that makes certain pronunciations more complicated, and the second is that they have years of training and can show you a few therapy exercises to try, which you can go home and work on, and get back to them if you're not seeing the level of improvement you'd hoped for. Our neighbor's grandson had some speech delays and by going to a doctor when he was 2, the doctor was able to monitor stages of developmental progressions to determine whether lack of treatment could result in permanent disability. Robbie is in gradeschool now and talks a mile a minute just fine! Best wishes.

M.B.

answers from Seattle on

Veronica,

My now 4 1/2 year old had all sorts of speech problems. I had his pediatrician, my husband, my Mother in Law (she has a degree in ECE), and most of my family telling me I needed to get my son into speech therapy. All this was about a year ago, when he was 3 or so.

I resisted, and didn't want to do therapy, even though everything I'd been told was that the therapy would be fun for him. I just felt like, as his mother, I should be able to handle this, and not have to go anywhere else (yes, I have a problem asking people for help, even if I need it).

Anyway, long story short, he had ear infections when younger, didn't really hear the words very well because if them, was in daycare for a year with a 10:1 ratio, didn't get much individual attention while there because many of the other kids were loudly vocal and trouble makers etc. In the 15 months that he's been home with me and his little sister his speech has improved tremendously.

What he needed, and maybe your daughter too, was some one on one, intensive work. While he's been home this past 15 months we correct him whenever he says a word wrong. We have him look at us to see the mouth movements, say the word at normal speed, then slow it down so he can hear the consonants and all that. Then we have him repeat the word until he gets it right. Doing that for the last 15 months, he can now order his own food at restaurants and be understood, as long as he's loud enough, but that's something else we're working on.

Hope this helps,
Melissa
Guess my short story wasn't so short. Sorry :)

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

My son had a speech impediment and we let it go til he was 7 or 8. At that time, we could have done weekly sessions thru the school district, but we chose instead to see a private therapist. In one visit, he evaluated my son and gave us a lesson plan with daily exercises to do at home.

The lesson plan was simple and involved saying easy one syllable words that begin with the problem sound. We had a page of these words like lip, lap and lot. The most important thing was to do it daily and only work for a few minutes at a time, so it was never stressful.

When that became easy, the next step was to learn to say simple words that end in the problem sound like will, wool, pal.

After that, it was on to more complex words but the key was to practice just the one thing until it became easy, before moving ahead. While we worked on these exercises, I did not correct my son's speech in regular conversation. His pronunciation in conversation corrected itself as he learned to say the sounds in isolation. The whole process took a few months.

I hope this gives you an idea of something you could do at home. If there is a problem in the future, you might consider working with a speech therapist like ours who can give you a personalized plan to work on with your daughter.

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J.S.

answers from Seattle on

What you can do at home depends alot on your own level of patience and how clearly you speak yourself.
My sister politely corrects her son. for example instead of "wove" That's good. I Love you too. Can you say love?
(repeat the correct word, but praise what they did right)
Also let your daughter watch your mouth to see how you form the letters.

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C.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi Veronica,

I would recommend an initial meeting with a speech therapist, because they can give you the specific exercises and word lists that your daughter needs to correct the problem. If you want to work with her at home, you need to show her how you make the sound with your lips and tongue and have her mimic you. Ask her where her tongue is when she says words with "L" and "TH" and make sure it is in the correct place for those sounds. Then, make up a nonsense word list where she can echo you- make it into a silly game and put the words to the tune of a song she likes to sing. This will help her put her tongue in the right place naturally.

Also, many 3 year olds pronounce works incorrectly, as the muscles of the mouth (cheeks, lips, tongue, etc.) are still developing.

Good luck!
C.

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K.R.

answers from Bellingham on

I read somewhere that the formula is that you should be able to understand 2 out of 4 words when they are 2 , 3 out of 4 when they are 3 and all sounds by the time they are 4.

I think this is something that will probably work itself out, given enough time. I would talk to your pediatrician, but I would wait with the speech therapy. I think every child has their own milestones to reach regarding speech. Work with her at home a little until she shows she is tiring of it. Correct her in a positive manner so she doesn't develope bad habits, but give her time. She will, most likely, come around before she ever starts school.

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J.K.

answers from Bellingham on

Hi,

The "l" sound is one of the later sounds to develop in a child. She isn't behind on that one. I believe the "th" sound is also a later one.

You can get a free speech assessment through the health department and they can help you figure out the best answer!

I hope this helps.

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L.P.

answers from Portland on

I am not a speech therapist, but I've been a teacher, and am also a mom to a three year old, and I can assure you that substituting sounds is extremely common at this age and most likely nothing to worry about. There are just some letters of the Engligh language that are harder to form than others. I know few little kids of this age that can say "lollypop" rather than "wawepop". Enjoy her sweet widdle kid-isms now and don't try to formally correct it (just model the right way to speak yourself). If you're still worried as she gets older, or if there are other red flags besides not being able to say certain letters, then by all means visit a specialist.

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T.T.

answers from Seattle on

My son has been in speech therapy privately and through the schools for over a year. He has a similar issue with the L sound. What I have been told is that it is a sound not worked on until closer to 7yrs old, that they get a chance to try and work it out. I know it's not very functional information but it's my understand that it's a common speech issue for the age. If you want, you can call DSHS Infant Toddler group for your county and they will have someone come and review her speech for free and let you know where her speech sits on the scale. They provide a therapist to your home if she needs speech and it's free if you insurance will not cover it. It is swift and great program for little ones under 3. Our experience was great and my son (who has lots of issues with articulation and language) is doing so great and continued with the therapist since out insurance covered it.

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T.S.

answers from Seattle on

My son, who will be 5 next month, had similar issues with replacing certain sounds. I was a little concerned at first, but even today I can't even remember what those sound replacements were because he eventually outgrew them. Today he has a slight lisp when he says the "s" sound, but I found that a handful of kids in his preschool class have the same issue, so I'm thinking he'll outgrow that also.

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A.C.

answers from Eugene on

I have a 4 year old who has the same problems with speech, and a few others, but a good speech therapist will do wonders to help her. My son, in just the last year of working with his speech therapist has some so far. I applaud you for wanting to do it yourself, but a good speech therapist will help so much. There should be some good resources in your area. You can go to the Local Elementary school, or like in my area, the University will have a childrens center that specifically centers around children with speech delays, or behavorial problems. Good Luck.

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J.F.

answers from Seattle on

those sounds are some of the hardest sounds and many kinds entering k and 1st grade don't have them. I wouldn't really worry about it yet.

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C.G.

answers from Seattle on

Hi Veronica,

I have a friend who looked into this for her son at 2 1/2. If you go through the school district, most pay for speech therapy for you. My son is in kindergarten, & we met with the speech therapist at the school last spring when we registered him & had him tested for the same concerns- he was in the normal range & she said he'd grow out of it. His speech has definately improved over the school year. Good luck!

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H.B.

answers from Seattle on

I have yet to meet a 3 year old, who says all of thier words, letters, and pronounciations absoulutly perfect. What you can do, is just correct them. My 12 year old used to say (when he was 3-4) Pisba for Pizza - Wesby for Wesley (his uncle)- Calbin for Calvin (another uncle)- there were a ton of others, but I can't remember them off the top of my head. When she says a word, correct her with the correct pronounciation. We did, and then my son was saying them correctly, over time-not over night.
We need to keep in mind, they are children, and we need to let them be children.
When my son was in the 3rd grade, I needed him tested for Learning Disabilities, I was told he had a vocabulary of that of a 9th grader or higher. He grew out of it. My 6 year old, same thing, and now, he's growing out of it. They both had lisps too, which I found adorable.

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M.H.

answers from Seattle on

My daughter had speech challenges also. I didn't have any at home remedies but as soon as she qualified to join speech therapy we started. She has no challenges today and she is 11. We just tried to enjoy her little lisps and accept that she would eventually get it and she did. I think because our daughter was the second child we didn't worry about 'it' as much as we would have if these challenges were with our first born.
I hope this helps.

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L.C.

answers from Eugene on

I don not think that there is anything wrong witht the way she is saying it. It takes a lot of practice for little children to be able to say the sounds correctly. The letter "L" and the letter "R" are one of the hardest letters get say and sound correct...my oldest daughter who is now 8 has had speech problems since she began talking due to labor complications. Her speech therapists have told me that children don't learn how to say/ sound the letters correctly ubntil they are betweeen 5 and 7.

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

I wouldn't call this an issue at this point. My daughter is 3.5, she calls her brother Liam, Wee-am, and introduces herself as Owivia, instead of Olivia. It sounds like it's very common. Other than the L's, she is speaking so clearly these days, it makes me kind of sad that the cute little things she says, like "mommy, that cookie was de-wishous" are going to be gone soon.

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