Speech Problems in Children

Speech Imperfections

Here are the three most common speech imperfections.

1. Stuttering: At 2 to 3 years of age, it's very common for children to stutter at the beginning of a sentence, notes Greg Prazar, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician practicing in Exeter, New Hampshire. This normal stuttering can take the form of repeating the first sound or syllable in a word or the first word in a sentence. It is more likely to happen when a child is tired, excited, or in a competitive situation, such as trying to express herself better or faster than her peers.

2. Lisping: Lisping is another common articulation problem when young children are learning to talk. Preschoolers typically make substitutions of an easy sound for one that is more challenging for them to make, such as "th" for "s," causing them to say "thand" for "sand." They also may substitute "w" for "r," saying "wabbit" for "rabbit."

3. Lengthy pauses: Another speech imperfection is the appearance of long pauses between words or thoughts. This is a sign that a child is groping for the correct word or thinking about how to structure her next sentence.

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