My Child Cannot Say 'ss' (or 'rr', or 'll')

As a parent, it’s natural to eagerly await each milestone in your child’s development, especially when it comes to speech and language. However, it can be concerning if you notice that your child is having difficulty pronouncing certain sounds, such as ‘ss’, ‘rr’, or ‘ll’. This is a common challenge in speech development, but thankfully, a pediatric speech pathologist can offer significant help.

Understanding Speech Sound Disorders

Difficulties with specific sounds can be a part of a broader category known as speech sound disorders. These disorders can include problems with articulation (making sounds) and phonological processes (sound patterns). It’s important to recognize that struggling with certain sounds is a common part of children’s speech development. However, if these difficulties persist beyond the typical age range, it might be time to consult a professional.

Role of a Pediatric Speech Pathologist

A pediatric speech pathologist is a specialist trained to assess, diagnose, and treat speech and language disorders in children. Here’s how they can help:

  1. Assessment: The pathologist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to understand your child’s speech capabilities and challenges. This includes observing how your child says different words and sounds.

  2. Customized Therapy Plans: Based on the assessment, the speech pathologist will develop a tailored therapy plan. This plan focuses on the specific sounds your child struggles with, using age-appropriate and engaging methods.

  3. Techniques and Exercises: Therapy might include demonstrating how to make sounds correctly, teaching the child to recognize the sounds, and using repetitive exercises to practice the sounds. Games, storytelling, and other interactive activities are often part of the therapy to make it enjoyable for the child.

  4. Parental Guidance: Speech pathologists also equip parents with strategies to continue the practice at home. This might include specific games or exercises and general tips to encourage clear speech.

When to Seek Help

If your child is significantly behind their peers in pronouncing certain sounds, or if their speech difficulties are impacting their ability to communicate effectively, it’s advisable to seek a consultation with a pediatric speech pathologist.