Lay Publications

Speech characteristics of 8-year-old children with speech difficulties: Findings from a prospective population study

Lay summary:
Children vary considerably in the rate at which they develop their speech sounds. In the early years, many children may show a delay in acquiring some of their speech sounds and may make some errors in their speech such as substituting sounds or omitting them altogether. Many children make changes in their speech and are able to use the full range of speech sounds by the time they are aged 8. Some children however make errors in their speech production after this age. However, these errors might not appear when the child just uses single words as they might do in answers to questions from adults for example. This study shows that children make different types of errors when they speak in sentences (connected speech) and in tasks where they repeat made up words (nonword repetition) compared to when they speak in single words. It is important therefore that assessments of children at this age include a range of tasks which require a child to talk in sentences and conversation as well as repeating made up words and using single words.