Speech is not an innate ability. Nevertheless, mastering the native language is characterized by a number of features common to all children.
Each child masters speech systematically, moving from simpler to more complex structures. Sounds are also “tamed” gradually, but always in strict sequence. This fact explains the existence of norms, albeit to some extent averaged, on which speech therapists rely.
First of all, sounds are formed that determine the core of the Russian phonological system: [a], [o], [p], [m], [t ’], [d’], [d], [b], [n]. Later, sounds [e], [y], [u], [y], [s], [br], [h], [yi], [l], [p] appear.
The articulation base is fully established only by 5–6 years. And here are the key steps on this path that will help you understand how justified your concerns are.
From 2 to 3 years In the third year of life, the child is able to pronounce all vowel sounds, except [s]. Normally, it is permissible to soften and stun consonant sounds: for example, instead of the “house” in a child, for the time being, “dem” can be obtained.
But whistling ([s], [s], [n]), hissing ([g], [br], [h], [yc]), [p] – [p ‘] and [l] – [l ‘] is not yet given. All of them are either skipped or replaced with those sounds that have already been mastered.
The speech is still not clear in sound. The most characteristic speech deficiency for children of this age is softening of the consonants. Many more three-year-olds do not make hissing sounds, replacing them with whistling sounds.
The same thing happens with [p] and [l]. The replacement of the posterior-lingual consonants with the fore-lingual ones is often noted: instead of [j] is [t], instead of [z] – [g]
The voices are quite often stunned: instead of [v] it is [f], instead of [d] – [t].
The manner of pronouncing words and sounds at this age also has a number of features. Most three-year-olds have physiological (not pathological!) Deficiencies in sound pronunciation, which are temporary. This is due to the fact that the speech and central hearing aids of the child still function imperfectly.
The connection between them is not sufficiently developed and strong, the articulating organs move inconsistently, and the sounds are fuzzy. In addition, in Russian, three-year-olds hardly have clusters of 2–3 consonants (tr-, stem-, etc.). As a rule, one of these sounds is either skipped or distorted, although in isolation the child pronounces these sounds correctly.
Often in a word one sound, usually more difficult, is replaced by another, existing in the same word. Sometimes these replacements are not related to the difficulty of pronunciation: just one sound is likened to another, because the kid quickly caught it and remembered it.
Another feature of three years is the transposition of sounds and syllables in words.
In speech, the softening of consonants almost disappears, it is observed only in a few children. The majority already have hissing sounds [w], [w], [h]. At first they sound unclean, but gradually they start to work out, although pronunciation is unstable for this age.
Many children at this age already make a sound [p], but it is not yet sufficiently automated in speech. [R] is rarely omitted in words, therefore those who have not yet mastered it say [l], [l ’], [nd] or [c] instead.
It is curious that some kids, having barely learned to pronounce [p], [w] and [w] correctly, begin to actively use them in speech, replacing with them those sounds that themselves used to be “substitutes”.
At the beginning of the sixth year of life, a child has the ability to pronounce sounds [l], [l ’]. Also at this time there are sounds [p], [p ’], whistling [n] and hissing [h].
So if a child is 3 or even 4.5 years old, and he still says “lyba” instead of “fish”, you shouldn’t worry about it. Better have patience and watch so that no burr or nasal [p] appears.
And make sure that in case of replacement this difficult sound is replaced by one of the regulatory options: [l], [l ’], [nd] or [c]. “Foreign pronon” and atypical replacement consonants require consulting a speech therapist until the child is 5 years old.
Where to find a speech therapist?
The speech therapist in the district clinic advises on speech development, conducts prophylactic medical examinations in kindergartens and schools and is engaged in the correction of simple speech disorders in children of different ages. With more pronounced violations, he also directs children to the psychological, medical and pedagogical commission (PMPK) to clarify the diagnosis and (if necessary) determine the kindergarten correctional group. Also, free specialized speech therapy assistance can be obtained at the centers of psychological and pedagogical support (GOTPTs DOGM).
It should be noted that since January 1, 2014, the procedure for financing pre-school education has changed, and now often one specialist has to supervise 3-4 kindergartens. As a result, free practice with a speech therapist in practice very often begins only in the preparatory group. For one year, the sound response to the norm is far from always obtained, therefore there have been more schoolchildren with improper diction over the past two years.
The same thing happens with speech therapists in district clinics: almost everywhere their services are brought to extra-budgetary basis.
Who to choose: a speech therapist or a pathologist?
Do you know the difference between a speech therapist, a speech pathologist and a speech pathologist-defectologist? All three specialties are taught at the faculty of defectology of pedagogical schools.
Speech therapist is a specialist in the formulation of sounds, vocabulary development, grammatical structure of speech. A defectologist, or oligofrenopedagog, works with children with mental development. Speech pathologist – a speech pathologist who knows how to put sounds.
After you find a specialist, be sure to ask him to show a diploma. If there is an “oligophrenopedagogue” mark there, he should have a separate certificate for the development of a speech therapist specialty. Naturally, it would be better if additional education lasted for 2–3 years, rather than 36 hours in absentee mode.
And by all means pay attention to whether your speech therapist was able to establish contact with the child. If not, do not expect anything good from classes: it will be a waste of time, effort and money.
How is the lesson going on?
Approximately 15 minutes at the beginning of class is given to articulation gymnastics. Then, minutes 5 is given for the training of a targeted speech exhalation, when the child learns to release an air stream of the desired intensity. Another 5 minutes is spent on the development of fine motor skills, with the obligatory repetition of spatial coordinates (where the right hand is, where is the left hand, etc.).
The remaining time is spent on setting up the sound or on its automation. For setting sounds, a mirror is used, and if necessary, also probes or their substitutes (ear sticks, cocktail tubes).
How long do you need to do?
Each case is individual. The duration of correctional work depends on the severity of the speech disorder, the individual characteristics of the child, the help of the parents, and can vary from several weeks to several years.
On average, it takes 2–3 classes per week for 30–45 minutes.
Is it better in a group or individually?
Group and individual lessons are a priori different tasks. In group sessions, a speech therapist usually develops phonemic perception, expands vocabulary, corrects grammatical structures. And on the individual solves the problem of correcting the sound pronunciation.
Here, as usual, it is important to start from the diagnosis.