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Online articulation therapy for kids & adults
In-person language therapy near Skokie, Evanston, West Rogers Park, WilmetteNiles

The development of speech is a complex process that begins in infancy, when it's common for children to mispronounce, add, change, substitute, or omit certain sounds or syllables from words. By age four, children are expected to produce majority of sounds in their language. However, if they're unable to, it may indicate the presence of a speech-sound disorder.

Parents sometimes assume their child's speech delay will resolve on its own, but this isn't always the case. Failure to seek assistance for a child with a speech-sound disorder can have a significant impact on their speech development.

The two most common types of speech-sound disorders:

1) Articulation disorder is a condition that affects an individual's ability to produce certain sounds, resulting in difficulty in communicating effectively. This can make it challenging to comprehend words, phrases, and sentences. A common example is a lisp. To gain a better understanding of when typically developing children acquire each sound, click here.

2) Phonological disorder is a condition where an individual, usually a child, struggles to comprehend the sound system and speech rules of our language. It's more intricate than an articulation disorder because the child may be able to produce sounds in some words but not in others. For instance, a child can say all sounds except for those in the final position of a word, resulting in saying "ca" instead of "cat." To learn more about typical and atypical phonological patterns and signs of a phonological disorder, click here.


Less common speech-sound disorders include apraxia and dysarthria. Apraxia, also known as Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), is a condition where an individual struggles with planning and executing oral movements. Dysarthria, on the other hand, occurs when an individual's speech sounds distorted or slurred due to neuromuscular weakness, paralysis, or uncoordinated muscles required for speech production.

Stephanie Jeret Speech-Language Pathologist teaching a child how to fix a lisp in Evanston illinois, correcting a lisp, online speech therapy, Evanston
Stephanie Jeret, speech therapist, how to produce the r sound for a child in Skokie Illinois, online speech therapy, skokie
Stephanie Jeret, Speech-Language Pathologist, correcting a lisp for an adult an adult in West Rogers Park illinois, online speech therapy, West Rogers Park

What are the causes of a speech-sound disorder?

There's no clear cause behind this disorder, but it can be the result of one or several factors including:

  • Cleft palate or other orofacial differences

  • Dental issues (e.g., an overbite or underbite)

  • Developmental delays

  • Hearing loss

  • Low muscle tone

  • Neurological problems

It's crucial to be attentive to your child's speech and seek an evaluation from a Speech-Language Pathologist.


Articulation therapy is designed to address a range of challenges, including:

  • difficulty with specific sounds such as /r/, /s/, /sh/, /ch/, /l/, and other sounds

  • lateral and interdental lisps

  • unclear speech that sounds mumbled and is difficult to understand

  • speech that's labored, slurred, or unclear due to neurological damage.


Whether you're an adult seeking help for your own articulation or a parent seeking assistance for your child, I can help improve the production of specific speech sounds and overall intelligibility. Often, older children and adults will substitute words to avoid producing problematic speech sounds, and I can help you overcome this so you can use the words you want when speaking with friends, presenting in class, or addressing your colleagues.


We can get started with a free consultation.

Stephanie Jeret, speech therapy, giving speech therapy to a child, how to produce the r sound for a child in wimette illinois, Wilmette

It's common for children to be unable to produce every sound in their language from birth. Typically, children acquire specific sounds at certain ages. To determine if your child is acquiring speech sounds within the appropriate timeframe, refer to the below chart.

Speech-Sound Development Chart 

years old

years old

years old

p, b, d, m, n, h, w

t, k, g, ng, f, y

v, s, z, sh, ch, j, l

years old

th (voiced), zh, r

years old

th (voiceless)

Crowe, K., & McLeod, S. (2020). Children's English Consonant Acquisition in the United States: A Review. American Journal of Speech Pathology.

Phonological patterns are a common occurrence in children, where complex words are simplified in a predictable manner. While most children eventually outgrow these patterns, some may not, indicating a potential phonological disorder. It's worth noting that atypical phonological patterns are not observed in typically developing children, and are often indicative of a phonological disorder.

Typical age of elimination
Final Consonant Deletion
Deletion of the final consonant in a word
Cat is changed to "ca"
Sip is changed to "si"
3 years old
Final Consonant Devoicing
A final voiced consonant (ex: b, d) is replaced with a voiceless consonant (ex: p, t)
Bed is changed to "bet"
Tub is changed to "tup"
3 years old
Prevocalic Voicing
A voiceless initial consonant (ex: p, t) is replaced with a voiced consonant (ex: b, d)
Pig is changed to "big"
Cup is changed to "gup"
3 years old
First syllable is repeated two times
Bottle is changed to baba
3 years old
Velar Assimilation
A non-velor sound (sounds that are not k, g, -ing) is changed to a velar sound (k, g, -ing)
Sock is changed to "kack"
3 years old
Stopping of fricatives
A fricative (f, v, z, s, zh, sh, h, voiced & voiceless th) is substituted with a stop (p, b, t, d, k, g)
Four is changed to "bore"
3-5 years old depending on sound
Velar Fronting
A velar sound (k, g, -ing) is substituted with sound produced in the front of the mouth (usually an alveolar sound (t, d, n))
Can is changed to "tan"
3.5 years old
Palatal fronting
A palatal sound (sh, ch, zh, j) is substituted with a sound produced in the front of the mouth (usually an alveolar sound (t, d, n))
Chair is changed to "tair"
Fish is changed to "fis"
3.5 years old
Weak syllable deletion
The deletion of an unstressed syllable
Telephone is changed to "tephone"
3.5 years old
Cluster reduction
Reduction of a cluster (consonants with no vowels between them) in a word
Stop is changed to "top"
4 years old
Changing an affricate (ch, j) to a fricative (f, v, z, s, zh, sh, h, voiced & voiceless th) or stop (p, b, t, k, g)
Chew is changed to "shoe"
4.5 years old
Stopping of affricates
An affricate (ch, j) is substituted with a stop (p, b, t, d, k, g)
Chop is changed to "pop"
4.5 years old
A liquid (l, r) is substituted for a glide (w, y)
Leg is changed to "yeg" or "weg'
5 years old
Fricative simplification
An interdental (voiced & voiceless th) is substituted with a labiodental or alveolar fricative (f, v, s, z)
Thumb is changed to "fum"
5 years old
A vowel is added between two consonants
Blue is changed to "bu-lue"
8 years old

Bowen, C. (1998). Developmental phonological disorders. A practical guide for families and teachers. Melbourne: ACER Press.

Bauman-Waengler, J. A. (2012). Articulatory and phonological impairments. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.

Bernthal, J., Bankson, N. W., & Flipsen, P., Jr. (2013). Articulation and phonological disorders. New York, NY: Pearson Higher Education.
Dodd, B., Holm, A., Zhu, H., & Crosbie, S. (2003). Phonological development, a normative study of British-English speaking children. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics, 17, 617—43.
Peña-Brooks, A., & Hegde, M. N. (2015). Assessment and Treatment of Speech Sound Disorders in Children: A Dual-Level Text. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.
Shipley, K. G., & McAfee, J. G. (2016). Assessment in speech-language pathology: A resource manual. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Examples of atypical phonological patterns:

  • Migration: a sound moves position in a word (e.g., "oaps" for soap)

  • Initial consonant deletion: a sound in the initial position is consistently deleted (e.g., "at" for cat)

  • Vowel alteration: one vowel is changed to another vowel (e.g., "but" for boat)

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