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Speech Issue?

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My DD is 7 years old, and still has issues making the hard and soft 'th' sound. (She uses 'v' and 'f' for words with those sounds.) When I remind her to put her tongue between her teeth, she'll make the correct sounds, and just now when I spoke out sentences (and she read the title of this post so must have realized I was testing pronunciation) she spoke correctly. But when she's in conversation always pronounces incorrectly. And I asked her, after she'd pronounced the sentences correctly, whether it was hard for her to do, and she said yes, that she had to think about it before doing it right. She also sometimes uses b for v (e.g., "festibal.")


How abnormal is this for a 7 year old? Will it resolve in time on its own? Or is it something I should coach on? (I'm imagining giving her lists of 'th' words to read.) I could also probably ask for an SLP when she returns to school, since she's already on a 504 plan, but I'm thinking something this minor doesn't call for it.

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To be honest... I don't think this is too small to ask a school speech therapist about, or ask for a screening.


Not that it is a big deal -- but it's not a big deal to ask a question. And the speech therapist will know.


You can google "speech sound acquisition charts" and see where that th is on it. But if you asked for a screening -- they are 15 minutes and it is not like it is too much to ask.


Other than that -- my perspective is so off I don't have any thoughts. I am someone where I concentrate on communication and leave the speech sounds to the speech therapists. Partly I don't have a very good ear, partly communication is more important here.


I do know about "modeling correct." Anytime you can say something where you repeat the word correctly for her, but in a kind-of natural way, that is good.


So if you just use the word (correctly) in your reply to her, that is "modeling correct."


It is good to do.


I really don't go beyond that to try to prompt my kids to say it correctly, unless I am honestly trying to figure out what they are saying.


But the reason is I need them not to feel like it is a chore to try to talk to me, "why talk to mom, she will make it into a difficult lesson."


This is not how it is for other people, but it is why I don't have advice!


Edit: but ideally if you model correct usage, or just say "oh, ______," they will hear the correct usage and try to say it themselves some of the time. It is good to do. But it is also ---- not that much, and is not making any requirement or putting pressure on. Which are things I don't want to connect to attempts to communicate here, but it is really a different level, and I think you are fine to try to work on it.

Edited by Lecka
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According to my book, /b/ and /v/ are in the 5-6 year age group. /th/ is in the 6 years and older category.


The book title is:

Teach Me How to Say It Right by Dorothy P. Dougherty, MA, CCC-SLP


It's a small book, about 150 pages, but packed with info and activities you could use to help your daughter over the summer. Your library might carry it.

Edited by Guest
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According to Ken Bleile in The Late Eight, 50% of kids acquire voiceless /th/ by 4y6m and 75% by 6y0m. For voiced /th/, it's 50% by 4y6m and 75% by 5y6m. So she's a bit on the late side and you have grounds for requesting an articulation eval from the school SLP. But be forewarned that if the substitution errors are not interfering with her intelligibility, she may not qualify for SLP services through the schools.


My DD has articulation goals for /r/ and /l/ because she substitutes /w/ for both, and that interferes with her intelligibility enough to have it be on her IEP. But /f/ for voiceless /th/ and /d/ for voiced /th/ have not been targeted.

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