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Speech Intelligibility in Children

Speech Intelligibility simply is how well someone can be understood when they’re speaking. As your child grows so does their speech intelligibility, as well as vocabulary and grammar structures. There are different factors which determine speech intelligibility. Those factors are: pronunciation, rhythm, volume, staying on topic, syntax and more. It is estimated that by age 5 your child should be able to be understood by a stranger in terms of speech. Spontaneous speech can be less intelligible than automatic speech, so children can sometimes be better understood when counting or reciting something.

So, the question remains “How intelligible should my child’s speech be?”. Depending on their age is the answer most simply. Around 18 months of age your child will be somewhere around 25 percent intelligible. At 24 months of age your child should be between 50 and 75 percent intelligible and 75 to 100 percent intelligible by age 3. While large differences in intelligibility exist, experts believe your child should be at least 50 percent intelligible by 4 years of age. If your children are being exposed to more than one language they might speak later or confuse one language with another, this is something that might affect their speech intelligibility by certain people. 

Some tips for increasing your child’s speech intelligibility are: 

  • Slow down your rate of speech
  • Face the person you are talking to
  • Work on speech awareness – while you might understand something mispronounced or incorrect that your child says, others won’t. Respond gently by stating you didn’t understand what they said and asking them to repeat themselves. 
  • Use sentence pacers
  • Keep an eye on your child’s developmental speech sounds – Different sounds, such as /b/, /r/, /k/, /m/, /l/, and /s/ might be difficult for your child, but they develop at different rates. By age 7 your child should be able to produce all sounds accurately. 

Children acquire language simply from their surroundings. Mom, dad or other caregivers are key in language development. It is invaluable to speak to your baby from birth. Even before an age where they might speak, it helps to narrate things to babies. Language is much more easily acquired by children than adults so the more you speak, the better. 

Tongue twisters are great exercises to do with your children. They are great vocal warm-ups. They are also great tools for pronunciation, projection, concentration and sound levels. Tongue twisters can further enhance muscle memory and articulation. 

Reading or listening to stories is also a great way to improve your child’s pronunciation, communication and fluency. Stories are also a great source of new vocabulary for your child. Bedtime stories can further help with memory, focus and time management. So, don’t skip the bedtime story. 

Storybook combines bedtime stories, poems, and songs with infant massage techniques to not only get you closer to your little one, but a world of benefits including improved quality of sleep, development of emotional intelligence and language acquisition. Ideally your little one will be lulled to sleep by our soothing music, stories and massage techniques, however Storybook is also a great tool to use other times of the day too. With other 60 stories and monthly updates, Storybook has a story for everyone and everything. {{cta(‘511181ed-3741-4a6e-9c2d-0b2301cce057’)}}


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Storybook helps your little ones fall asleep, improve discomforts and connect with them through massages, stories and music.

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