As speech therapists, we often hear concerns from parents regarding specific speech sounds that their child is having difficulty with. Each specific speech sound is expected to begin developing at a certain age as a child’s articulators and motor planning skills develop. We consider a sound to be “mastered” when a child is able to produce the sound accurately in 80% of instances. See below for when each speech sound is expected to be acquired and mastered as according to the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA). 


Speech Sound  Age of Expected Acquisition  Age of Expected Mastery 
p  1.5 years  3 years 
m  1.5 years  3 years 
h  1.5 years  3 years 
n  1.5 years  3 years 
w  1.5 years  3 years 
b  1.5 years  3 years 
k  2 years  4 years 
g  2 years  4 years 
d  2 years  4 years 
t  2 years  6 years 
ng  2 years  6 years 
f  2.5 years  4 years 
y  2.5 years  4 years 
r  3 years  6 years 
l  3 years  6 years 
s  3 years  8 years 
ch  3.5 years  7 years 
sh  3.5 years  7 years 
z  3.5 years  8 years 
j  4 years  7 years 
v  4 years  8 years 
th (voiceless as in “think”)  4.5 years  7 years 
th (voiced – as in “the”)  5 years  8 years 
zh  6 years  8 years 

All children develop speech and language at different rates and in different patterns, especially those who are neurodiverse. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that these are simply guidelines. If your child has difficulty with a speech sound and their age is over the expected age of mastery or if a specific speech sound is greatly impacting their ability to be understood, reach out to our speech team to add a goal to your child’s treatment plan! 


Sander, E. K. (1972). When are speech sounds learned? Journal of Speech and Hearing Disorders, 37(1), 55–63. 

Templin, M. (1957). Certain language skills in children: Their development and interrelationships. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press. 

Wellman, B., Case, I., Mengert, I., & Bradbury, D. (1931). Speech sounds of young children. University of Iowa Study, Child Welfare, 5(2), 1-82. 

Blue Bird Day fosters socialization, sensory regulation, and pre-academic learning in children ages 2-7 years in therapeutic rotations that simulate  preschool and kindergarten settings. Our compassionate therapists practice a relationship-based and family-centered approach, provide parent training, and collaborate on goals and individualized intensive treatment plans for your child.

We believe in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary team approach to therapy. A team of occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, dietitians, developmental therapists, behavioral therapists, physical therapists, and therapeutic assistants are created for each child to ensure child and family are fully supported and the best possible results are achieved.  

Options for individualized, group and virtual therapy sessions are available as well. 

Want to learn more or you have a specific question? Feel free to connect with us here! 

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