Speech & Language Therapy Information

Category Archives: Speech

Speech Sound Development Chart

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A speech sound development chart shows normative data that identifies which particular speech sounds are used, on average, at what particular age.

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Speech Development

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The development of speech sounds, leading to the production of words, follows a predictable pattern. In the first year, children typically pass through four speech development stages: vegetative sounds, cooing and laughter, vocal play, and babbling. Babbling marks the transition into linguistic development, as the child passes through the One Word Stage and on to full mastery of speech sounds by about six years of age. English consonants are acquired in a front-to-back manner, with plosives being used before fricatives.

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Speech Delay

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Speech delay is the failure to develop speech capabilities at the expected chronological age. The child may progress through expected developmental milestones in a sequential order but their progress lags several months behind their typically-developing peers. Speech delay may present as a phonetic delay (articulation delay) or a phonological delay – or the two may co-exist. This article presents some phonetic and phonological developmental milestones that can be used to assess delayed speech.

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Phonological Processes

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Young children have insufficient ability to co-ordinate the movement of their vocal apparatus. Therefore, they simplify the production of complex words. These simplifications are not random but predictable. Many phonological processes have been identified. This article considers structural simplifications such as deletion, metathesis and cluster reduction, and systemic simplifications such as substitutions and assimilations.

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Phonological Disorder

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Phonological processes help the developing child by simplifying the production of complex speech. If these processes are not eradicated by an appropriate age the child may present with a phonological disorder: systematically altering the structure of words and/or substituting speech sounds.

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Phonological Organization

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The speech sound system is organized at least at three levels: phonemic, syllabic and word. This is known as phonological organization.

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Unlike phonemes, allophones do not create distinctions in meaning between one word and another. They are variant ways of articulating the same phoneme. That is to say, they are predictable phonetic variants.

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Phonemes are the basic unit of speech. They are the simplest speech sounds that are used to differentiate between one word and another. A phoneme is capable of creating distinctions in meaning between words.

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Vowels are open sounds, produced with the vocal cords vibrating and with no obstruction to the airflow from the lungs. There are approximately 20 vowels in British English.

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Phonetics studies articulation, i.e. how the sounds of particular languages are articulated in particular contexts. This article explains the articulation of the 24 English consonants. They are categorized as either plosives, nasals, fricatives, affricates or approximants.

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