When should my child stop using phonological processes in his/her speech?

Phonological processes are speech sound errors that occur in patterns.  In younger children, these are sometimes developmentally appropriate.  However, some of them should disappear by age 3, and all of them should disappear by age 7.  Some common phonological processes include:

  • Reduplication: e.g. “baba” for bottle.  Should disappear by age 3.
  • Unstressed syllable deletion: e.g. “nana” for banana.  Should disappear by age 3.
  • Velar fronting:  The velar sounds /k/ and /g/ are replaced by /t/ and /d/, which are made closer to the front of the mouth.  For example, cookie becomes “tookie.” Should disappear by age 3.
  • Consonant cluster reduction:  A consonant in a cluster is omitted.  For example, “school” becomes “cool.”  Should disappear by age 7.
  • Gliding:  The sounds /r/ and /l/ are replaced by /w/.  For example, “run” becomes “wun.”  Should disappear by age 7.

If your child is still exhibiting phonological processes after turning 7, it is a good idea to consult with a speech-language pathologist.