When parents bring their children in to our clinic to have help with their speech pronunciation, a common (and important!) question they ask is: ”How long will it take for my child’s speech to improve?”
There are a number of factors that affect how quickly new sounds can be learnt:
How quickly your child can learn to make the new sound. That is, if a child can’t say the ‘k’ sound in words and sentences, they first need to learn to make the sound on it’s own. Sometimes this can take some time. Using a PROMPT© approach in therapy, where the therapist can help the child “feel” how to make the sound by using touch can be an enormous benefit. It means that the child doesn’t have to figure out what to do only from watching or listening.
- Learning new speech sounds is about learning new movement- just like learning a new forehand technique in tennis or kick in soccer. As a result, it takes time & practice. It’s important that this practice is regular – a short amount of time everyday is ideal. The practice also needs to be meaningful & enjoyable- it needs to achieve something for the child & be fun 🙂 The most important thing about practice is- it needs to be correct. Practicing the wrong sound or speech movement will delay progress significantly.
- Attending therapy regularly- weekly therapy attendance helps children gain momentum in learning their sounds, ensures they progress to the next step at the right time, and as a result prevents them from getting bored. Fortnightly therapy attendance generally means that therapy takes a lot more than twice as long, and instead of saving money, parents end up spending more than twice as much. This happens because children do not get the benefit of the momentum and progress of weekly therapy. Fortnightly therapy inevitably becomes monthly therapy due to illness and other issues- as a result progress becomes painstakingly slow.
- Once a child has learnt how to make a sound, as with all new movements, generally it takes about 6 weeks of practice to help them to make it a natural part of this speech.
So to ensure that therapy progresses as quickly as possible, learning new sounds needs to be meaningful, fun, correct and regular.
Eastside Speech provide private one on one Speech Therapy Sessions for Toddlers and Preschoolers. Get in touch with one of our Speech Pathologists today on 02 9313 8980.