Does my 5 year old need speech therapy?

Q: Does my daughter need speech therapy? She is turning 5 years old in 1 month. When she says a word with a hard "ch" like "church" the "ch" sounds almost like "sh". We notice it more when there is an "r" in the word.

A: I'm not a speech therapist, but my speech therapist friends tell me that they usually don't worry about simple articulation difficulties like the one you describe unless it lasts until the age of 7 or 8. They also say that pronouncing the sounds "L" and "R" are the most difficult in the English language, and often are tricky for many kids who go on to speak just fine. But ask your pediatrician for a referral to a specialist if you're concerned.

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