Speech: Hard To Understand
From the moment they speak, about 70% of children pronounce words clearly. The other 30% say many words that are gibberish. Sounds are jumbled or left out. The cause of this normal mispronunciation is usually genetic. To help your child through this stage:
- First: Don't correct your child's speech. This is your child's normal speech and it is not under his control.
- Second: Don't interrupt your child's speech or complete his sentences for him. Give him ample time to finish what he is saying.
- Third: Don't ask your child to repeat himself or start over. Listen very closely to what your child is saying. If necessary, guess at the message.
- Fourth: Don't ask your child to practice certain words or sounds. This could make your child so self-conscious about his speech, that he starts to stutter. Instead, encourage conversation and help your child relax about his speech. Most of these children become totally understandable by age 4 or 5.
If you continue to have concerns, talk to your healthcare provider about the possibility of consulting a speech therapist.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.