Articulation Milestones

Articulation difficulties are when a child produces sounds and words incorrectly, making it difficult for others to understand. These errors can sometimes be caused by a physical problem such as hearing loss and cleft palate however, in most cases it is due to a disturbance in normal process of speech acquisition. See below for guidelines on when specific sounds are acquired.


  • A child will babble and imitate different sounds, e.g. Baba, dada.
  • A child will use a variety of sounds at the beginning of a word.
  • Child’s speech should be understood 50-60% of the time.
  • A child should be using the following sounds p, b, m, n, w, t, d, k, g & f, fairly consistently.
  • Child should be understood by parents and familiar listeners most of the time.
  • Child should be understood by unfamiliar listeners 70-80% of the time.
  • A child’s speech should be 100% understood although some speech sound errors may persist.
  • Later sounds sh, s, z and l are emerging.
  • Later developing sounds such as: l, s, r, v, z, ch, sh & th should be developing.
  • More than 50% of children have acquired these late sounds by 5 years old and 75% of children have acquired them by 6 years of age.